Commuter Profile: Dean Peddle

From our neighbors to the North, meet Dean Peddle — longtime reader of Bikecommuters.com, email correspondent and current leader in our Bikecommuters.com/Bikejournal.com “club” commuting pool:

Dean

How long have you been a bike commuter?

Almost 15 years now.

Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?

I don’t have a “feel goodâ€? story about the environment or anything like that. At the time I was still racing and I just wanted more miles. I decided, “why drive an hour each way to work and come home and ride another 3 hrs when I could just ride to work in about 1.5 – 2 hrs and get my training in then?” When I stopped racing though I continued to commute. Funny thing was I never commuted around town for errands until I took a trip to Holland and saw how it’s really done. I came home right away, purchased a Dutch bike and now do all my town errands by bike.

My commute has been different lengths over the years with different jobs. I even had a 2 month stretch where I was commuting 77kms each way to work. My current work location has been about 5 years. My commute is between 2 major cities with country roads in between. It has a little bit of everything, wide busy city roads, empty country roads, bike lanes, bike paths, steep climbs and beautiful scenery. It’s starting to get a little busy with all the new development they have done on the outskirts of my roads but the drivers are really good here. I very seldom have any problems. Living in Canada this makes it hard in the winter. In my hardcore racing days I would ride ALL winter but as I got older I became a little softer so I take January and February off. But now after seeing Dottie out there in Chicago she might inspire me again.

climb

How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?

As I said above, it didn’t start out that way but it sure has taken that route lately. I remember last summer riding by the gas stations and laughing my head off every time the gas went up. I’m pretty much ready to give up my car but I will have to keep the family car for my wife and kids. Also, all the riding with the kids and wife have really helped….it is a lot of fun and the kids absolutely LOVE it. They can’t wait to get on the bike when I pick them up from daycare. Health-wise, it’s the only thing keeping me alive the way I eat. I’d be 300 lbs if it wasn’t for the bike.

What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?

Ahhh….guess. I’m a software developer like everyone else. I think it’s the creativity and ability to adapt to change needed in this profession that brings so many bike commuters. You really need to be creative and change quickly in this field and deciding to ride a bike to work is a real creative change. I commute between Burlington and Mississauga Ontario Canada, right outside Toronto.

lanes

What kind(s) of bike do you have?

Well, with almost 15 years of commuting the list is big. I have 6 bikes….one for each occasion as I like to say. I have an old racing bike I still like to take out on fast group rides or centuries Cannondale R5000 with Dura – Ace 10 sp and Cosmic Carbone wheels. I converted my old Litespeed Appalachian cyclocross bike into a fixed gear using the White Industries ENO hub for commuting to work. I also added a Dynohub to this after using this on my Dutch bike cause I liked it so much.

litespeed

My other favorite is my Dutch bike that I use for all my errands around town. It is so nice to be able to ride in normal clothes and I’ve started to tackle more and longer rides on this so I don’t need to wear my bike clothes. It’s a Breezer Uptown 8 with fenders, full chainguard, ring lock, dynamo hub, lights and panniers.

breezer

I also have an old Cramerotti cyclocross bike I like to use for winter and rain riding and of course an old fixed gear bike for riding in the winter. I have now added a Dahon Hon Solo fixed gear fold-up bike for taking on trains or if I’m bumming a ride from someone. It’s pretty cool and fun to ride with it’s leather saddle and grips and wood fenders and chaniguard. As you can see I’m a big fan of fixed gears. 3 of my 6 bikes are fixed with plans to replace my Cannondale next year with the new Trek District Carbon. I love riding them and even challenged myself to complete a double century on one this year. I did make it but my knees were a little sore…

cramerotti

Dahon

Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?

One time me and a friend were out for a ride and someone hooked us really bad in his car. My friend being the type A personality that he is chased him down and when he got beside him the driver said “when you start paying taxes I’ll start giving you more respect.� I think this caught my friend by surprise seeing he probably pays more money in tax then this guy makes in a year. Needless to say I called my accountant that night and said “I don’t have to pay taxes anymore….I ride a bicycle!!!� I mean come on, I heard it from someone that drives a car….it must be true…he has to be smart. This just shows you the mentality of the people out there operating heavy machinery so BE CAREFUL.

scenery

What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?

Well as you can imagine I have a long commute so most people don’t even believe me. Of course I get the “you’re crazy� comments, especially in the cold months. I like to say to people “It only seems impossible until you try it.� It is amazing to see a child who can adapt so easily to any situation but an adult has such a huge problem changing and will find any excuse not to.

How about bicycling advocacy? Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?

Not really….I would like to but I guess I’m just not the type. I did attend our city’s “Bicycle Master Plan� meeting which included a great job they are going to do for our city to make it very “Dutch� as we are a sister city with Appledorn Holland and we had a traffic engineer from there design our plan. I made a few comments about what problems they would face as I’ve ridden in Holland many times since my wife is Dutch but nobody really understood “what� I was saying.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

I guess as I stated above….Just BE CAREFUL. It’s amazing what kind of people are allowed to drive cars. Also be more adaptive and add more bikes. For years I was a die-hard roadie with a narrow mind until I took a trip to Holland. Heck, before Holland I didn’t even think you could ride a bike without bike clothes….now I very seldom wear bike clothes. Also, there is no bike that can do “everything� so buy a bike for each occasion. It is so much fun! Of course my wife doesn’t think so. But hey….I don’t spend money on cars so why not bikes !!!!

We’d like to thank Dean for sending in his profile and photos to share…he indicated that he’d send additional “winter action” photos for our enjoyment when the cold weather comes, so stay tuned!

Where The Magic Happens…

Inspired by a recent post by our lovely friends over at Let’s Go Ride a Bike, I thought it would be cool to give our readers a “behind the scenes” glimpse into Bikecommuters.com. What’s it like to be a highly-unpaid bicycle blogger with tens, if not dozens, of readers and the attendant fame that comes from these wondrous Interpipes? Now’s your chance to see!

Much like Dottie at LGRAB, Elizabeth “gets her muse on” by having a cuddly assistant to help inspire her while she crafts articles for Bikecommuters.com:

Elizabeth

Noah likes to keep things real…if he’s not on the bus or elsewhere on the road, he conducts his business here:

Noah

I have a cuddly assistant, too — seems to be a recurring theme among bicycle bloggers. Mine demands laptime, and he weighs close to 20 lbs., so there’s no arguing with Lemmy (yes, he WAS named after the singer from Motörhead):

Jack

RL takes a different approach to the workspace. In addition to his roles as writer and mastermind behind many aspects of Bikecommuters.com, he also manages a winning racing team. While the team is out practicing or racing, RL likes to catch up on business. He’s got a pretty sweet office with a view:

RL

Moe’s personal assistants and security staff wouldn’t permit us to take photographs of his workspace, just in case you’re wondering why we didn’t show him “working his magic”.

It’s a glamourous, fast-paced life we lead here at Bikecommuters.com, but we love every minute of it. Hope you enjoyed this quick “behind the scenes” tour!

Why the skinny jeans?

The whole hipster/fixie thing is growing quite rapidly in my area of Fullerton, Ca. With the growth of the style, fashion comes into play. Here’s what I don’t understand, why in the world do fixie hipsters wear skinny jeans!?!

Personally I hate wearing pants of any kind when riding a bike. It feels way to constrictive and my legs get hot and sweaty…

So if you’re a fixie hipster kinda commuter, and you wear skinny jeans, can you explain to me why?

Join the Cycle pedals through Chicago

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the ladies who formed Join the Cycle as they passed through Chicago on their cross-country journey.

the ladies of Join the Cycle

Melissa, Casey and Hannah (plus a fourth adjunct member) created the Join the Cycle team and are riding bicycles across America the summer of 2009 to inspire others to make cycling a part of their lives. Back on June 11th the ladies set out from L.A. and rolled into Chicago on August 17. I met up with them during their meet and greet event at REI on August 18.

Why are you doing this?
Well, each of us has slightly different motivations of course, but we all love riding bicycles! And we each strongly believe that cycling has been a positive change in our lives, and want others to experience the same benefits we have. We think that cycling is the best way to get around, because of the health of our planet and our bodies, and we want other people to try it out and fall in love just like we did! Please see our mission for more.

How can I get involved?
There are so many ways you can get involved with Join the Cycle! The best thing you can do is challenge yourself and sign our pledge to try biking more for transport! Then help spread the word by following our blog, becoming friends with us on Myspace and Facebook, and telling your friends! Want more? You can always host us, feed us, ride with us for an afternoon, help us organize an event in your area, or best of all, ride our homestretch from NYC to Boston for a week in September! Contact us for more info.

I’d like to try riding a bike for transport, but I don’t know what to do!?
Check out our Pledge Tips when you sign the Pledge. It’s full of helpful hints for first-time commuters, and links to even more info!

Their journey has relied on the generosity of sponsors, friends and the couch surfing community as they make this self-supported trek from coast to coast – and hauling about 100-lbs worth of gear on their bikes.

full gear bike

Their final destination is Boston, where they plan to arrive in time for the city’s Critical Mass on Friday, September 25, and conclude the trip with a finale celebration on September 26.

Along the way, Casey admitted (and Hannah and Melissa agreed), “The problem with this trip is that we wish we could stay longer at every place we visit.” Chicago represents the two-thirds point of their route. These women are making their mark on each city, despite their short stays. They are visiting community bike shops, like Chicago’s West Town Bikes and Blackstone Bicycle Works, where they hope to educate youth and “hope to make it safer so many more will bike.”

If you want to get involved and support Join the Cycle’s cause, take the pledge:

I pledge to use my bicycle to bring me places, to use my car less and to have fun doing it!

Chicago welcomed Join the Cycle. I hope you have the opportunity to meet this team of women along the route, too.
REI_table