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Profiling Preston Tyree, Education Director

In celebration of May as National Bike Month, we are asking League staff members why they ride and how they make the most of Bike Month.

Next up is Education Director Preston Tyree.

League Education Director Preston Tyree in an airport as he crisscrosses the country to spread the word about Smart Cycling

League Education Director Preston Tyree in an airport as he crisscrosses the country to spread the word about Smart Cycling (photo: Ann Tyree)

Hi Preston, from your perspective, what impact does Bike Month have on bicycling in this country?

Bike Month is the first time a lot of adults get back on a bike. I expect this year, with the price of gas up, we may see more people on bikes than in any recent Bike Month.

What is your favorite Bike Month experience or memory?

Riding with our politicians in the Political Pedal. You really begin to see some changes when your mayor, a couple of council members, county commissioners, and state and national representatives all go riding with the Police Chief. And of course we finish a local restaurant for dinner and a beverage of our choice.

When did you first start riding regularly? What made you start?

I’ve never really stopped riding since I started in 1948. I can remember riding in Junior High, at the University and all through Graduate School at UVa. It has always been about independence and freedom.

What are your riding habits like these days?

Because I work out of my house (telecommuting) and travel a lot I have to make myself ride. I do a faux commute with a 7-10 mile loop at least once a day and many days twice, morning and evening.

What’s the longest ride you’ve ever done?

There is a ride in Texas every year, the Lone Star Circle of Life to raise awareness of the need for donation of Blood, Tissue, Marrow and Organs. I’ve done it 4 times in 14 years and it used to be 800 miles but it’s down to about 600 miles over 8 days.

Do you have an all-time favorite route, trip, or experience you’d like to share?

I guess it would have to be getting my friend Jimmy Hudson fit enough to complete a 180 mile two day ride. Jimmy was about 60 when we started and we got him ready to do the ride twice. The great thing about this is that Jimmy is blind and does the rides on the back of a tandem.

As the League’s director of education, what tips do you have for new bike commuters?

Just get out and do it. If you only ride one day a month that works out to about 5% which would be huge if everyone did it. Don’t try to commute every day, if that’s too much. Take it easy and enjoy it.

What do know now that you wish you knew before you started to ride frequently?

It took me a long time to understand that riding assertively, predictably and conspicuously really does make motorists respect me more as a road user. I’ve gotten to where I control the lane until I feel it is safe to give up control. It just works better in traffic.

What do you typically wear to ride?

Whatever I have on when it is time to ride. If I am going out to do my loop it may be my regular clothes. If I am going to do a 20-miler or better I’ll do the whole lycra bit and make myself really visible. For the longest rides I make sure I have layers and rain gear. Of course this year in Texas rain really hasn’t been a problem. But my next trip is to Seattle and the forecast is for 60% chance of rain the entire time I am up there.
Thanks, Preston!

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