Monday, March 1, 2010

carfreeAmerican profile- Evan P Schneider, editor of Boneshaker: A Bicycling Almanac

Tell me a little bit about you (name, age, occupation, carfree or carlite, where you live).
"Evan P Schneider, 31, writer, editor of Boneshaker: A Bicycling Almanac, carfree, Oregon."

When did you start using a bicycle for commuting?
"When I was 11 years old, I would jump atop my neon green Trek Radical Jazz mountain bike and ride from my family’s house on a dusty country road several miles into town. This town was a very, very small town in which I would usually go buy a candy bar at Suzie’s Market then play some hoops in some friend’s driveway then ride home before dark for dinner."

What inspired you to start?
"Pure necessity. My mother made it explicitly clear that she wasn’t going to drive me all over the countryside—especially during the beauty of the summer months—so if I was going to do anything out on that prairie, I was going to have to get there myself."

What is a day in your bicycling life like?
"Moist. My wheels make a pleasant hum passing over wet roads. On many rides, I inadvertently go fast. I say inadvertently because I usually set out by saying to myself, “I’m going to go ahead and just take this one easy,” but then something revs up in me and I see that I’m really going for it. Sometimes the air is thick and the pedaling is inexplicably hard, as if I’m pulling the Earth behind me by a rubber band. Other days it’s almost effortless. I don’t know what makes the days different, though. They just are."

Do you recommend cycling to friends/family members/others? Have any taken you up on it?
"I hardly ever recommend cycling in conversations with people. That’s not the way people come to things, I don’t think, by someone preaching about how great it is. If people ask me what it’s like to only ever travel by bike, I’ll tell them, but usually, I just let people mind their own transportational business."

What kind of bike are you currently riding?
"A Dawes Galaxy singlespeed conversion. It’s an older bike, but I’m not sure from what era. Probably from the ’70s or ’80s, but to be honest I have no idea. It’s green with some beautiful white lug work, though."

In your opinion, what’s the best part about cycling?
"The smells through which I get to pedal routinely. Fireplace smoke. Pizza parlor smell. Train yard smell. Coffee, roasting. Laundry smell billowing from the vents on the sides of apartment complexes. The smell of almost snow. I never get tired of all the different smells."

What’s the worst?
"Locking up and unlocking and then relocking, but wait, no, here I go unlocking again."

What are three pieces of advice you would give to someone starting/considering commuting by bike?
" 1) Wear a helmet. 2) Always have bike lights. 3) Don’t carry too much stuff."

Anything else you want to add?

"Riding your bicycle everywhere is not as hard as you think. Truly, it’s not. It’s just a rhythm that you fall into like anything else. Be safe, though. And smart. The world needs smart people."

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