League’s Membership Director on Bike Month and Riding Like a Soccer Player
Next up is Membership Director Scott Williams.
Hi Scott, how are you celebrating Bike Month this year? What’s your favorite Bike Month experience?
I get to celebrate cycling all year long by working at the League! I’ve got WABA Bike to Work Day t-shirts going back years, and have always enjoyed being part of the big downtown rally, but last year was the best. Working with Team League, I got down to Freedom Plaza at dawn to help WABA set up, then watched as the commuters rolled in and filled the plaza. It was awesome.
As the League’s membership director, what have you heard from League members about why is Bike Month good for members or bicycling in general?
I think that it can be easy to take cycling for granted – you can become accustomed to how good you have it. Whether that’s the bike lane you’re using, your favorite bike, or your favorite bike shop. It’s nice to have an occasion to celebrate cycling, and share your excitement with others. That’s what I hear from members – they’re excited about teaching kids, leading adults on their first bike commute, or just being with other cyclists at a Bike Month event.
When and why do you ride your bike?
I mostly use my bike for commuting, 9 or 10 months a year. It’s gotten easier since I bought a ride-behind bike for my 5 year old daughter – I drop her and the ride-behind at her school, then cycle on into work. It’s a touch over 7 miles each way, and takes about as much time as a Metro/Bus commute.
What’s the longest ride you’ve ever done?
I got back into biking in the mid-1990s when I rode 52 miles with friends, from Bethany Beach in Delaware to Cape May, New Jersey and back again. I hadn’t really done any cycling in years, and didn’t even have my own bike. It was lucky there were a couple of long ferry rides in the middle to break up the trip. More recently I rode 40 miles from Albuquerque to Belen, NM, at the National Bike Rally in 2010.
What tips do you have for new bike commuters?
One key thing is that your driving route is probably not your best biking route. There’s probably a more relaxing, more flat, route somewhere nearby. Find another commuter with a similar commute and ask her how she gets to work. Or contact your local bike club or advocacy organization and ask them to suggest a route.
What do you know now that you wish you knew before you started to ride frequently?
I was quite afraid of cold and dark when I started, and I would give up biking when daylight savings time ended until the days got long again. Once I tried biking at night, I realized it was not a big deal and in some ways easier than daytime biking. It’s easier to tell which cars are in operation! Similarly, with an investment in gear, I realized that I can bike pretty comfortably down to about 30 degrees. Below that, and I tend opt for the bus and Metro.
What do you typically wear to ride?
Usually, one of my collection of brightly colored soccer jerseys, though I do avoid wearing any of the ones that might agitate anyone. I think that I bike like a soccer player, too – most of my ride is at a moderate pace, punctuated by sprints when I see a light I want to make, or a hole in traffic I want to hit.