Friday, November 18, 2005

Bicycle Commuting is my Job

I haven't owned a car since 1987 and I bicycle everywhere. Typically when I go to things like job interviews, I'll change out of my biking duds. Like a super hero, I've become a master of the bathroom quick change. A quick cleanup with a baby wipe, a trade of my wool jersey for a button-down shirt, Travelsmith pants over my shorts and bike commuter man looks like mild mannered corporate man.

A few years ago I decided that John Fogerty isn't just a good song writer, he's a pretty decent career counsellor. So I left a good job in the city, working for the man every night and day. And I wound up working as a bike mechanic at Sammamish Valley Cycle. It's a great job at a great place working with great people.

While I have some talent with a wrench, I also really like is riding and writing about people I've met and things I've learned on various roads and trails. Over the years I've had many people tell me that my bike stories have inspired them to get out and ride. I guess my love of bikes and riding comes through in those stories and I get a lot of satisfaction in helping other people find their own joy in riding.

Which brings me to my new job. Starting in December, I'll be working as the Commuting Program Director for the Bicycle Alliance of Washington. As I said, Sammamish Cycle is a great place to work, but working at the Bicycle Alliance is going to let me do even more of what I love. I'll be matching up new bike commuters with experienced bike buddies. I'll be mapping out commute routes for people. I'll be working with King County Metro to help people with multi-modal commutes involving bikes and bike lockers and buses. I'll be working with local companies to help them help their employees bike to work. It's another great job with more great people.

The job interview with Bicycle Alliance wasn't your typical interview. My friend Linda Schwartz told me that I wouldn't need to do the super-hero costume change and that I could just roll my bike straight into Bicycle Alliance Headquarters. When Barbara Culp, Bicycle Alliance Executive Director, saw my bike she said "Wow, nice fenders." And then Barbara and Linda proceded to tell me about the job and why they thought I'd be perfect for it. The more we talked, the more we agreed.

As I rode up Capitol Hill and past Seattle University, I saw a bike commuter towing a trailer. In the trailer was a cello. Now a lot of folks might see something like that and think "how odd!" Others might look at it and think "how cool!" I looked at that and thought "there's Brad." I caught up with Brad at the next light and filled him in on my new job. Brad is a musician and music teacher. He's one of my buddies and he's a cycling role model.

Bicyle commuting is my job. In my new job, I'll have a somewhat longer commute. Since I commute by bicycle and I love bicycling, that longer commute is a plus. Another big plus will be the chance to pair folks like Brad up with folks who want to be like Brad.

This will be another interesting ride on another interesting road. I'm looking forward to the trip.
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