Matthew Boerke's daily commute mileage is 11.3 miles one way, 22.6 round trip; which is a fairly significant trip. He rides 2500 South to 90th south via 700/900 East and finds it to be very pleasant riding. He rides as often as he has energy and time for, which sounds non-committal, but usually winds up being 2-3 times per week. Doing the back of the envelope math, he's riding 45 – 70 miles per week, rather than driving, which is a pretty significant impact on gas consumption, air quality and personal exercise. Matthew is a big believer in we can all be part of the solution is we all do what we can. He rides a road bike without a rack and panniers, so errands requiring purchases after work (like grocery shopping) aren't conducive to riding those days.
[Editor's note: At the time this article was originally written in 2013, Matthew Boerke served as the Operations Manager for EcoScraps, which is a local company producing compost without any animal products.]
Matthew is not intimidated by a little rain or bad weather. “I'll go in any temperature. I try to avoid heavy smog and any wetness; rain or snow. But, I'll go if it's overcast and a spotty, light drizzle.” He did mention that never-ending conundrum about riding when the pollution levels are high. On the one hand, it's documented that it isn't good for your heath, but on the other, if you drive, you are making it worse. That's one that the solution seems to be above the pay grade of an individual cyclist but Matthew feels it's worth bike commuters getting engaged in those conversations.
When asked why he commutes by bike, Matthew replies, “I enjoy the exercise and going fast; I try to keep up with the cars on the slower roads. It's also my way of helping to clean the air and “save the environment.” He also loves feeling the breeze of a fresh, cool morning and really appreciates the bonus exercise. “I love getting my exercise in while commuting so I kill two birds with one stone (assuming that's an environmentally friendly thing to do, of course).
When asked about what he doesn't like about bike commuting, Matthew responds, “I don't like cars, traffic, stop lights, breathing exhaust when I'm breathing hard, and debris, potholes, and manhole covers in my lane. I recently got three flat tires in one week!” That's a long list, and shows his dedication since he's still out there 2-3 days a week. It really proves the dedication of bike commuters!
Matthew offers this advice to wanna be commuters, “Live close to where you work (a long commute seems daunting and can potentially get you sweaty) and try to travel at non-rush hour times; maybe leave at 7:30 am and come back by 3 or 4 pm. Don't be afraid to set a goal of riding once a week or even a couple times a month; every car-less commute saves some fuel and carbon from the atmosphere. If you can get a group to bike together or even to bike separately but on the same day, it adds to the fun of it and builds community. Heck, maybe you can even bike to lunch some day instead of drive.
Ah, words of wisdom we should all heed. As Matthew said when we parted ways, “You're not stuck in traffic…you are traffic. Ride a bike and break free!”