Monday, January 2, 2012

Brent Hugh, Director Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation, Car-lite Profile

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

"Brent Hugh, 47, Exec Director of MOBikeFed, car lite, Raytown, MO."

Your family bikes for transportation, tell me about that and how it has affected your lives?

"It's made our teenager more independent. He goes everywhere he wants independently now (13 yrs). It has made us all healthier."

"The thing I didn't know/realize before starting, is it has made me more able to tolerate the climate--hot, cold, humid, dry, etc. Partly it's because you know how to deal with it (clothing etc) and partly because your body adjusts."

When did you start using a bicycle for transportation and what effect has it had on your life?

"Started biking in about 1998 when my doctor told me to lose 25 lbs or else."

"It was 3-4 years after that I realized I could bike to the drug store about 2 miles away, and it was downhill from there. (Before that I had ridden certain routes for exercise/recreation but since I was avoiding all traffic these never went near stores or commercial areas.)"

Please describe a typical day in your cycling life?

"Ride girls to school on our recumbent tandem + trailer bike (me plus two girls); Jonathan accompanies us on his own bike."

"Then maybe I ride to a meeting downtown KCMO or near the Plaza or KU hospital area, then ride home."

What kind of bike(s) are you currently riding?

"Rans Rocket recumbent and Rans Screamer recumbent tandem are my main rides."

"I also have a Trek mountain bike I ride occasionally, a 1970s Schwinn road bike I take on trips, and a Trek recumbent that is my "backup bike"."

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


What’s the worst?

"There are some places you just can't go, even if you're fairly hardcore."

Do you have a favorite carfree/carlite story? (Something that really makes you smile or could possibly encourage others to use a bike instead of a car for transportation?)

"Stopped at a garage sale, some woman said, "You just get around **everywhere** on that bike!"--as though she didn't believe it possible I was covering such massive distances. Then she mentioned where she had seen me--about 2 miles away, or 10 minutes by bike . . ."

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

"Don't set yourself up for failure. By that I mean, don't start out by saying, "I must do this every day, no matter what, and if I don't, I'm a failure." Because sure enough the day will come when it is too hot, too cold, to rainy, you have too much to carry, or whatever. If you can accept that 'Sometimes I bicycle and sometimes I travel another way' then all is OK. But if you envision yourself as a 100-percenter then that day you drive because of the huge thunderstorm or whatever because your reason to quit altogether."

"Start out small--say one day a week--and then gradually build up."

"Do it when you enjoy it. If you don't enjoy riding in rain, don't. If you don't enjoy it in weather over 95 or whatever, don't. If you don't like to ride below freezing, don't. And so on."

"There are ways around all of those difficulties and eventually you'll find them. But if you start out by forcing yourself to go when you are actually going to be miserable, pretty soon you won't enjoy it any more and then you'll stop doing it."

What changes regarding transportation would you like to see in the United States?

"Routine accommodation of bicycling and walking on every street and road."

"Go in and back-fill all the roads/streets we've built in the last 75 years or so where we forgot the bicycle accommodations."

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

"Some have, mostly my children."

"My parents and brother have recumbent tricycles they really enjoy."   

Find out more about Brent and how to join the Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation
Dr. Brent Hugh, LCI #1335
Executive Director
Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation
Phone: 816-695-6736
Fax: 210-579-2265

The Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation is a coalition of bicycling, walking, running, and trails organizations and businesses representing over 30,000 Missourians and speaking for the 2 million Missourians who bicycle regularly and the 5.8 million who walk.

Join MoBikeFed's advocacy alert network:

Carfree American supports the MoBikeFed and would like to encourage you too also. These folks work tirelessly for the rights of pedestrians and cyclists. They also are the ones who lobby for us so we can have street which are bike friendly and safe for our children!

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