Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eric Rogers - a carlite commuter profile

Tell me a little bit about you (name, age, occupation, carfree or carlite, where you live).

"My name is Eric Rogers. I am a thirty-something resident of Midtown Kansas City, Missouri. My wife and I have a car-lite household. We made a conscious choice to live in a compact neighborhood that is near our jobs, has good transit service, and has all the essentials within walking and/or biking distance."

"I am web developer by trade, and I am also heavily involved in bike/ped advocacy on the boards of Let's Go KC and the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation. Part of that work includes organizing Kansas City's Bike Week events and the Car-Free Challenge program."
When did you start using a bicycle for commuting?

"I started bicycling for transportation around 1996, and got really serious about it around 2000."

What inspired you to start?

"My first job out of college didn't pay much, so bicycling and transit were good ways to avoid paying for parking. Plus, bicycling kept me in decent shape without the expense of a gym membership. Kansas City is a beautiful city with great architecture, interesting urban neighborhoods, and lots of trees. This makes for great bicycling that is never boring."

What is a day in your bicycling life like?

"I currently live about 12 blocks from work, so I actually walk to work more than bike. These days most of my bicycling is for non-work errands to the grocery store, library, hardware store, etc."

Do you recommend cycling to friends/family members/others? Have any taken you up on it?

"Several of my co-workers and friends have started bicycling for transportation in recent years, and I'd like to think I played at least a small part in some of those decisions. "
What kind of bike are you currently riding?

"My main bike is a mid-range hybrid road bike. I am not a racer or long distance touring cyclist, so I just need a bike that reliably gets me from Point A to Point B. I also have a folding bike that is very handy for traveling. I often take it on the train to Chicago, St. Louis, etc."

In your opinion, what’s the best part about cycling?

"Experiencing my city in a very intimate way, while getting a great workout."

What’s the worst?

"Our climate and terrain. Missouri has unpredictable weather in both winter and summer. And the hills confirm that Kansas City definitely isn't in Kansas. These are things that cyclists have to adapt to over time. And I think they make us hardier cyclists than people in flat cities with mild weather."

What are three pieces of advice you would give to someone starting/ considering commuting by bike?

1. "You don't necessarily have to bike to work. The average commute in the KC region is 20 miles, so bike commuting isn't always a good option. However, most of the non-work trips we take are under five miles - so it's really easy to bike for errands like shopping and such."
2. "Find compatriots, both newbie and experience commuters, to share experiences and advice."

3. "Don't automatically try cycling on the same roads you would drive to work. Kansas City is a grid city, so it's easy to find low-traffic side streets just a block or two away from the main arterial streets you are used to driving. Do a trial run on Saturday when traffic is light."

Anything else you would like to add?

"First, start small by going to a store or restaurant. Work up to longer trips and try leaving your car parked for an entire weekend."

"Second, take a hard look at where you choose to live and work. How far apart are the two? Does the neighborhood have sidewalks, crosswalks, tree cover, and an interesting streetscape? Are there services within a 10 minute walk or bike ride? Are there transit routes that go where you need to go and run frequently enough to be convenient? These things all effect your ability to live car-free/lite, and the quality of that life."

To learn more about Eric and the great work he has done for cycling and transportation go to:

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