Saturday, June 12, 2010

Car-lite profile-Andy Cline

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

Andrew R. Cline, Ph.D.
I go by "Andy"
Associate Professor of Journalism, Missouri State University
Springfield, Missouri

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

I decided to walk and ride a bicycle for basic transportation when I moved to Springfield six years ago. The town is flat and has a classic grid street pattern -- perfect for walking and bicycling. The effect on my life has been profound. I've been liberated from the expense and hassles of owning a second car. I'm healthier and happier.

2. What is a day in your bicycling life like?

While I'll ride anywhere in Springfield, most of my riding occurs in the urban core on narrow, low-speed streets. I live .75 miles from work and 2.25 miles from downtown. So most of my riding is short hops to work, retail, and entertainment within 3 miles of home. My riding environment is very pleasant -- easy streets and tolerant drivers.

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

My everyday transportation bicycle is a Redline R530 -- a town bicycle outfitted for urban errands with fenders, chain case, rack, basket bracket, and mirror.

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

It is a safe, convenient, and stress-free way to travel within a few miles of home.

5. What’s the worst?

The worst part of bicycling in Springfield is overly-polite drivers who try to give me an undeserved right-of-way -- almost a daily occurrence. Sometimes drivers will do stupid and dangerous things while just trying to be nice. I rarely suffer honks or abuse by drivers.

6. Do you have a favorite carfree/carlite story?

It's not so much a story as a surprise. I'm truly surprised how easy this is. I just assumed my car would be calling to me on rainy days or when I felt hurried. It didn't happen. So it was easy to give up the second car and easy to avoid driving the one we've kept. My living circumstances have much to do with this. I live, on purpose, within 3 miles of most everything I need.

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

* Choose a bicycle that fits the job. For distance commuting, consider a touring bicycle. For short distances, consider a town bicycle.

* Follow the traffic laws.

* Move farther left if the lane is not sharable (less than 14 feet wide). Most people I see ride way too far to the right, making them difficult to see and encouraging drivers to squeeze by rather than executing a safe pass.

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

Yes! And I write the Carbon Trace weblog ( as a way to encourage others. My wife and daughter have become transportation riders. I also promote the 1-mile Solution (

Anything else you would like to add?

I was named the Ozark Greenways 2009 Member of the Year for my work on its alternative transportation committee (known as the STAR Team). The committee's work that year helped Springfield earn a bronze-level bicycle-friendly community award from the League of American Bicyclists.

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