CHBC urges residents to try bicycle commuting

Andrea Joki

Commuting by bicycle is growing in popularity as more and more people recognize it as a healthy and an environmentally sound way to get to work. Experienced bicycle commuters enjoy combining their travel time with a workout. They say it is a great way to transition to and from work, arriving at work ready to settle in and having time after work to de-stress before arriving home.

Most bike commuters combine bike commuting with public transportation and/or a car.

Three local bicycle commuters give their stories below. They will also give short presentations and answer questions at the July 20 Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition quarterly meeting. (see sidebar below)

Marc Lefkowitz, Web editor

Destination: Green City Blue Lake at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 2.6 miles each way, plus meetings outside the office.
Route: I avoid main arterials. I take Somerton to Wilton to Hampshire to Edgehill to Cornell, where I turn left onto Euclid Avenue and pick up the bike lane to East Boulevard to Wade Oval.
Frequency: I’m mostly a fair weather rider, not a winter rider. My goal is to extend my riding seasons to include early spring and late fall.
Bike: Specialized XC mountain bike; I’m a weekend mountain biker. I have two sets of wheels, one for commuting and one for off road.
Years bike commuting: 9
Clothing: I wear my work clothes to ride: a button down shirt and casual dress pants. My ride is mostly downhill so I’m not sweaty when I get there. But I ride up Edgehill on my way home, so I get a workout then! I wear my clip-in bike shoes and carry my work shoes. If it is it really hot out, I bring shorts for the ride home.
Rain/cold strategy: Honestly, I wimp out if it is really cold, raining or when there is snow on the road. In that case, I walk, take the bus, or drive as a last resort. In the early spring and late fall, I wear a balaclava (hooded hat), gloves and a heavy coat. I don’t have fancy gear; I don’t even have fenders, both things I hope to get eventually.
Best thing about bike commuting: I get my workout, and it helps sharpen my mind in the morning and clear my head at the end of the day. I like knowing that I am reducing my carbon footprint, boosting my health and taking advantage of living close to work.
Favorite equipment: My messenger bag for work shoes, papers and jacket. My helmet makes me feel safe and my clip-in pedals help me take on the monster hill--Edgehill!
Last word: I would like to see the Heights-area bike community promote complete streets, policy and design standards that provide safer roads for cyclists, pedestrians, kids, seniors, and the disabled.

Ian Hoffman, attorney

Destination: Stokes Federal Courthouse, 7.5 miles each way.

Route: Cedar Hill to the Euclid Avenue bike lanes.

Frequency: All seasons. The coldest I’ve ridden in is 10°F.

Bike: A 1980s steel-frame Giant road bike with flat handle bars and a Lotus converted to a single speed, with help of the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op.

Years bike commuting: 10

Clothing: I wear cycling clothes to ride in, shower at the gym in my building and then change into my work clothes. I keep several days worth of work clothes in my office. These get restocked on the days I have to drive.

Rain/cold strategy: I avoid ice and rain.

Best thing about bike commuting: I observe things I'd otherwise miss. For example, mulberry season is coming up. I like getting exercise on my way to work, helping the environment, and saving money.

Favorite equipment: I use a backpack for work materials and other stuff and wear a Gorewear windproof jacket that is good for 50ºF–10ºF and snowboard mittens for the cold. My shoes are Adidas with bike cleats, but they look like regular sneakers. If there is rain in the forecast, I attach my fenders.

Last word: The Euclid Avenue bike lanes make my commute much nicer. I once carried a watermelon and cantaloupe in my backpack.

Andrea Joki, artist, program director

Destination: Heights Arts in the Cedar-Lee area, one mile each way; studio near downtown, five miles each way. For eight years, I commuted to University Circle.

Route: Canterbury to Brockway to Tullamore to Lee Road. When I ride to my studio, I take the sidewalk down Cedar Hill, cut through CWRU parking lots to the Euclid Avenue bike lane to E. 23rd, then head north to Superior Avenue.

Frequency: All seasons.

Bike: Bianchi Valle for nice weather and a Raleigh Sprite for all weather.

Years bike commuting: 15

Clothing: I wear my work clothes to commute.

Rain/cold strategy: In cold rainy weather, I wear rain pants, protective eyeglasses, a waterproof shell over my warm coat, wind/waterproof gloves, and waterproof zip-up boots. I tape the vents on my helmet to keep my head dry.

Best thing about bike commuting: I’m not in a car. It’s refreshing and meditative to pedal along the back roads, enjoying the trees and gardens with the wind in my face. Commuting by bike tricks me into getting in shape.

Favorite equipment: Rain pants, my lovely Raleigh and rear panniers or a backpack to carry my stuff.

Last word: I used to ride because I did not have a car, now I ride because it makes me feel good. In good weather, my husband and I use our bikes go to the grocery store, library, the pubs, and other places.

Consider bike commuting

Wednesday, July 20, Dennison Park (corner of Monticello Boulevard and South Belvoir Boulevard),
6 p.m. potluck picnic (BBQ grills available), 7-8:30 p.m. program.

Three experienced bicycle commuters will talk about how they do it, an RTA bus with bike rack will be available for demonstration, and Cleveland Heights residents can purchase a bike license. Q & A to follow presentations.

For more information, contact Joy Henderson, 216-321-8081.

Joy Henderson

Joy Henderson is a founding member of the Cleveland Heights Bicycle Coalition and she commutes one mile to work on her Schwinn.

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Volume 4, Issue 7, Posted 10:56 AM, 07.05.2011