Thursday, November 18, 2010

James Osborne-carfree American profile-Denver, Colorado

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

Cargo bikes work for transportation too!
 James Osborne, 27. I have been married for 6 years and we are expecting our first little one next year. We live in Centennial, Colorado, a southern suburb of Denver and have for a few years. I try to be car-lite as much as practical, and my wife and I share one car.

When did you start using a bicycle for transportation and what other forms of transportation do you use?

About three years ago the car I had for several years started having serious issues, and I realized I was driving it less and less. We lived just a few blocks from a light rail station and it was very easy to ride to the station and take the train the 9 or 10 miles to my office. Finally I realized it was ridiculous to have a car sitting in front of our house that barely worked and I never drove, and we sold my car for pence.

What is a day in your bicycling life like?

In short, fantastic! Our house is about 8 miles from my office and it’s easy for my commute to be mostly on off-street paths or neighborhood roads. Riding feeds my eating habits and keeps my stress down. Commuting allows me to get a lot of riding in without taking too much time away from other things.

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

I’ve slowly spread bikes among friends and family. I try not to be too self-righteous about it, as I realize it’s not for everyone. This year I convinced a co-worker to ride with me on Denver’s Bike To Work Day and she has been bike commuting about one day a week since then. I have other friends that ride and my brother-in-law has ridden his commute for quite a while.

James and his Surly Long Haul Trucker
 What kind of bike are you currently riding?

My daily driver is a stock ’08 Surly Long Haul Trucker. I was riding a road bike before I started commuting regularly and prefer a road bike for rides of more than a few miles. Riding year round in Denver is usually a breeze, but we usually have to deal with a few weeks of snow. When the roads are bad I pull out a dedicated ice bike, an old rigid Trek mountain bike. On the advice of Peter White ( I got some Nokian Mount & Ground studded tires, which I can’t imagine the winter without.

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

I have to pick just one? I suppose I would have to say getting to ride my bike every day. Sure there are health, environmental and financial benefits. But mostly, I just like riding my bike, and I like that commuting lets me ride my bike.

What’s the worst?

The occasional inconvenience of an out-of-office meeting or something out of my routine. All of life is a trade off, and there are downsides to driving that, in my opinion, far outweigh the downsides to biking.

Do you have a favorite carfree/carlite story?

I love the first warm spring ride, when I can leave the house in the morning without a jacket and in shorts. I love jumping on my ’74 Schwinn Collegiate for a cruise to the grocery store or the bank. I love riding adjacent to bumper-to-bumper traffic and realizing that I don’t have to be part of that if I don’t want to.

What are three pieces of advice you would give to someone starting/ considering commuting by bike?
1) Ease your way in; don’t feel obligated to spend $1,000 on a new bike and gear just to try it.
2) If you know someone who rides a lot, talk to them about what routes they might suggest.
3) Ride when you want to. If it becomes an obligation quickly, you won’t want to ride!

Anything else you would like to add?

The best bike is the one you want to ride.

Thanks James and congrats on being pregnant!!! I see a trailer is in your future!

Read more about James and his carfree life at

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