Do you use more than one commute alternative?
I do! I initially utilized the bus when I first moved to Tacoma. I realized adding a bike allowed for more freedom. I enjoy bridging my commute using the bus on the days I want to shorten my ride, catch up on emails, relax, or get home a bit faster. I can also more easily change my route to meet up with friends. I do appreciate the decreased impact on the environment. Cycling allows me to feel productive before I get to work and decompress after shifts.
Why did you choose to bike to work?
Cycling is FUN! There is a feeling of freedom as it adds a bit of childhood exhilaration. We live in a gorgeous area. Cycling allows me to enjoy my time going to and from work with stunning sunsets over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the wildlife in our beautiful neighborhoods and seeing local businesses. Cycling is also healthier. I find myself smiling as I ride, especially past traffic. Cycling provides health benefits so I don't feel guilty with food indulgences. Cycling is better for the environment, traffic, and air pollution. There is cost saving: gas and car maintenance and health care costs. There are so many wins!
Did you have any challenges when you started biking work for your commute? How did you overcome them?
The hardest part is just starting. There is a great biking community in Tacoma that gives you tools to allow you to feel comfortable on the roads and teach you to maintain your bike. I joined the Tacoma Wheelmen's Bicycle Club in Tacoma to have the support to train for rides when I started. From there it became longer rides with friends, groups and events.
There is a fear of cycling on our roads but many drivers are thoughtful of cyclists, give you space and share the road. I do a lot of waving on my trips to thank them for their kindness. I have had issues of blown tires and not having a repair kit. Thankfully I have a great family to rescue me. I now travel fully equipped and have bus options, and family/friends to assist if needed.
What would you say to fellow employees to encourage them to choose an alternative to driving alone?
Just try it. It can be intimidating, but it makes every day so much more brilliant. Find a friend to try it with you to get more comfortable. Cycling is convenient! Traffic doesn't impact you as much, it is fun, healthy and gives you freedom. Cycling can be even faster for me to get to work sites where parking can be difficult. It is important to be prepared with layers of clothing, a backpack that is weatherproof and made for bicycles is helpful, lights, and other safety equipment.
What is your favorite thing about the CTR program?
Knowing that my efforts are supported by my workplace and Pierce County. I receive financial work benefits when I cycle. I log rides to see how much I save and the positive impact on the environment and myself.