Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bike to Work Week: Marcel Porras

My Transportation Deputy, Marcel Porras, rode his bike to City Hall today as part of Bike to Work Week. Until two weeks ago, Marcel didn't own a car, so he's an experienced cyclist on Los Angeles streets. He agreed to talk about his experience this morning.

How many miles (round trip) is your ride to work?
It’s 4.2 miles total.

How long does it take you to drive?
Well, I usually take the bus, which takes between 15 and 20 minutes from door to door. If I drive, it actually takes about the same.

How long does it take you to ride your bike?
It takes me just under 15 minutes.

In what ways did you have to change your morning routine in order to ride your bike to work?
I have to plan ahead so that I feel comfortable riding to work. I keep a pair of dress shoes, extra ties and a suit jacket at work, which gives me more flexibility when getting dressed in the morning. I don’t really like wearing my backpack, which is why I’m looking into installing racks on my back wheel to hang a pannier (travel bag). Once I do this, I think my morning routine will be a breeze. Oh yeah – I also have to make sure to pump my tires.

How did it go?
It was great! I left my house by myself, but along the way ended up riding with another cyclist. This is always great because it makes me feel safer. Safety in numbers definitely applies in this case.

Being that it’s Bike to Work Week, I met up in Downtown with a group ride that was awesome. We rode through downtown for about 30 minutes, and ended up back at City Hall. There were people and bikes of all shapes, styles, and sizes. Everyone had a blast – I know I did.
Any tips for those contemplating riding a bike to work for the first time?
Wear a helmet!
Also, consider taking a basic street skills class to acquaint yourself with the rules of the road, and to build some confidence. It will make your ride to work a lot smoother to have ridden with some experts before hand. I know that the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition offers a class. Another good option is to check out this free online guide, Bicycling Street Smarts, written by John S. Allen, a Certified League of American Bicyclists Effective Cycling Instructor.