By Ashley Patterson
Adrienne Cachelin doesn’t really consider herself a bike commuter though it is one of her more frequent modes of transportation. She has committed to not drive to work unless mandated by carrying a heavy load or trip chaining. Adrienne probably bike commutes on average 2 days per week simply because it feels good and she can. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Utah in the Environmental & Sustainability Studies Program. In addition, she serves as the Sustainability Curriculum Director for the University and in that role, works to get sustainability integrated into courses throughout the entire university.
Cachelin lives about a 20-minute ride from her office and on her non-bike days she rides a scooter or takes mass transit. Additionally, she uses the bike to run errands and for social outings outside of work, which she finds she can do just as efficiently as she can in her car and it gives her the opportunity for extra exercise!
With her busy schedule of teaching and meetings, Cachelin has to look professional and often needs to move from place to place during the workday. Her management strategy for her hectic schedule is simple: “I usually wear shorts under a skirt in the warmer months and then leave enough time to pedal slowly. Sometimes I’ll swap out shoes when I get to work.” Sounds like a simple, workable plan for most any of us!
She admits having a pretty idyllic commute to work due to its short length and lack of traffic. “Only about half of my commute is on roads. I ride through a graveyard where my biggest challenge is timing my motion with that of the rotating sprinkler heads in the summer, and then I pedal through an alley and up on campus where cars are mostly on the outskirts. It’s pretty nice as two-wheeled commutes go.”
The things that keep her from riding are the standard fare of challenging weather or road conditions, poor time management, i.e., getting up too late, or, having to haul significant loads either to or from work. But she doesn’t feel bad about not bike commuting; she does it when she can and is grateful for the opportunity.
Adrienne’s advice for aspiring commuters matches her motivation to ride in its simplicity, “It’s not an all or nothing commitment. You can start off riding just a couple of days a week and see how it feels. Work on finding your own idyllic route; maybe it’s not the most direct, but it’s the best ride. If you have meetings to have to be in many places during the day, try and schedule them in a way that makes sense for a bike, which may mean taking advantage of mass transit.”
Simple words of inspiration for us all to ride our bikes to work as well as play!
Editor's Note: Cycling Utah extends a huge thank you to Ashley Patterson for her contributions to the commuter column over the last five years. We hope you have enjoyed her writing as much as we have, and have used it to inspire you to ride more!
If you have a suggestion for a commuter profile, have a commuter question, or other comments, please send it to [email protected]