We’re proud to present the first of two commuter profiles from the ladies of Bike Skirt, a new blog about the trials and tribulations of commuting in Birmingham, Alabama. Our first profile is of Anna Carrigan, who demonstrates that bicycle commuting can be a very stylish way to travel:
How long have you been a bike commuter?
I’ve been commuting off and on to school and various jobs for about 5 years.
Why did you start riding your bike to work and how long is your commute?
I’ve been biking to my current job for two months, but haven’t made the journey very many times. The distance is about 3.5 miles but it takes around 40 minutes owing to a massive hill/mountain, Red Mountain to be exact, in my way and various other hills that require summiting. I have to get off of my bike and walk over Red Mountain, but I hope to conquer it by bike this year! I decided to start commuting because it seemed like it would be interesting to try and a good way to get some exercise.
How does Bike Commuting help you with your lifestyle (economics, health, relationships)?
I believe the greatest thing about Bike Commuting is that I am involved in the journey from home to work in every way. I’m not just zoned out in my car speeding along the expressway to get to work on time, but I’m intentionally leaving my home much earlier that I need to, jumping on my bike, and experiencing the weather, sounds, smells, sights and the burn of my muscles as I travel to my destination. That burn is also very important to me; my health and well-being are being improved every time I ride.
I also bike to school, and the greatest thing about that I that I don’t have to pay or fight for a parking spot.
The environmental aspects are great too: lessening my carbon footprint, less dependent on oil, sticking it to big business and the manâ€¦all that mumbo jumbo.
What do you do for a living and in what city do you bike commute?
I work at a city library part-time and am going to school for a Masters in Public Health, focusing on Health Behavior. I commute in Birmingham, Alabama.
What kind(s) of bike do you have?
I have a LeMond Tourmalet – a hybrid bike that costs less than $500 – and a fixed Peugeot Iseran.
Any funny or interesting commuting story that you may want to share?
Can’t really think of anythingâ€¦pretty boring commutes for me.
What do people (coworkers, friends) say when you tell them that you are a bike commuter?
My coworkers think I’m nuts for going over the mountain, and are constantly asking if I biked that day (usually it’s a no). My friends think it’s greatâ€¦but also a little crazy.
How about bicycling advocacy? Are you active in any local or regional advocacy groups?
My friend Elisa and I are writing a blog together called BikeSkirt that chronicles our various biking adventures. It’s surprising to see how many people are rooting for us and it’s so encouraging to hear of others who are also trying commute by bike. I hope we are also encouraging others to get out on their bikes more, especially women who might be reluctant because they think they can’t feel beautiful while riding. I think it’s so much more attractive to be all hot and sweaty rather than being a lazy s.o.b. sitting on my fat ass!
Elisa and I are also working with our friend Alan to start a bike co-op in Birmingham that will be a place for affordable bike maintenance, advocacy, and community development.
Pretty much just being on a bike period in Birmingham is like advocacy because it is so rare here!
Anything else that you want to share with us?
Birmingham is a great city even with the negative things about it; it has a lot of interesting places and great people that the wider world doesn’t tend to recognize. Also, because there is so much lacking in terms of infrastructure, residents all have a chance to really make a difference. You should come visit some time!
We’d like to thank Anna for sharing her profile with us…stayed tuned for part two of our Bike Skirt profiles, when we’ll introduce Elisa Munoz, the other mastermind behind this excellent new blog. In the meantime, show these gals some support by visiting their blog — a lot of good ideas and images to be had over there.
See, it IS possible to ride a bike and look gorgeous doing it — something a few of us probably knew all along, but it is great to see the word is spreading!