Hi! First off, tell me a little about how you got involved with the BTA?
I first got involved with the BTA as a Walk+Bike Ambassador last spring. A friend who works at Portland Bureau of Transportation told me about the position. I study community health education, so I thought I would be a pretty good match for the position.
Now you’re full time with the BTA as the Bike Commute Challenge Coordinator. What’s your typical day like at the BTA? What projects have you been working on lately?
Well, for my previous position, I would teach for two weeks at a particular school. So, I would prep and debrief for the class I would have to teach that day. Then, going out with the kids and teaching them the rules and signals. At the end of the lessons, we would ride around the community. I would only be in the office every other day, I was mostly at schools. Moving into this position, I’ll be in the office much more. I’m currently contacting local vendors for the Bike Commute Challenge.
Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from?
I was born in Mexico City. My family moved to the Gorge when I was about one year old. I grew up there, and moved up to Portland to go to college.
Where in the city do you live now?
I’ve lived in SE for about three years now.
What’s your daily commute like?
It’s a pretty long commute, about 7.5 miles. It takes me about an hour to bike. Sometimes, i’ll mix it up with TriMet, depending on how tired I am. The morning commute is downhill, so it’s much faster, so maybe 40 minutes. The way back is all uphill!
Tell us a good story about a bike ride.
When I first started working at the BTA and hadn’t commuted too much in Portland, I decided to bike home from work. I took one of the maps that we have, but I took a really big one by accident. So, I remember hoping I wouldn’t get too lost. Halfway there, by Laurelhurst, I stopped because I had no idea where I was. So I busted out my big map and stood there like a lost puppy. There was a biker coming by who asked, “Do you need help? You look really lost.” He must have known because I had the biggest map ever.
It’s always really nice when people offer their help. What is one of the more difficult things about biking around Portland?
I would say the rain. Dealing with rain gear and trying to find unfamiliar locations in the rain when I worked as a Bike+Walk Ambassador was a little difficult.
Do you have a rain kit that you always bring?
Well, I learned from one of the staff members to always bring any pair of gloves, and I have a rain jacket. I had a hard time finding rain pants, but eventually I found some! Sheilagh (another staff member) let me borrow some garden gloves once!
Just to kind of wrap it up, what do you like to do in your free time?
I like to hang out with my family when I can, and friends. I also like to run so I head out to SE and run around the trail there. I’m also finishing up my Bachelor’s for Community Health Education at Portland State. I just need to complete an internship, and then I’ll be done with that.