Sometimes, it can be a challenge to decide to start biking to work, especially if your commute is over 20 miles each way. This didn’t stop JJ Kirkpatrick, however, who lives in West Linn and works as an accountant at Cambia Health Solutions in downtown Portland. JJ has been commuting to work with his bicycle for about 6 months, and currently does a multimodal commute where he drives part of the way and then bikes the rest of the way into the city. He’s gradually increasing the bicycle portion of his commute and hopes to eventually work up to biking the entire 20 miles.
JJ originally started commuting to work because he wanted to incorporate some physical exercise into his daily commute. Before biking, he was taking the bus to work which took about 45 minutes each way. He figured that riding his bike to work would be a great way to incorporate some exercise into his daily commute. The hardest part was figuring out the best route into the city. “I ended up going down the Springwater Corridor, because it’s really convenient,” he says. “I went on to Mapmyride.com and used their mapping tool.” Now, JJ’s a regular on the Springwater Corridor trail, and is hoping to find a good route to take him all the way home to West Linn.
JJ has found that he learned a lot about bicycling in the short time he’s been commuting. He suggests easing into bike commuting, because it can seem like a daunting task at first, especially if you live as far away from work as he does. Start small, and gradually increase the amount of time you spend commuting by bike, and pretty soon you’ll be commuting the whole way. He also recommends mapping out your route before starting, as certain streets are better for biking on than others. He also suggests asking your coworkers that commute by bicycle for help. If you know someone who already commutes to work at your office, ask them for tips and advice. JJ wishes he had known someone at his office he could have route planned with, but admitted that it wasn’t too hard to figure out. JJ also divulged that he feels lucky because, “our office has showers, lockers and a secure space for locking up your bike.”
JJ’s favorite place to bike near work is the Springwater Corridor, and the SW Waterfront park, which are great for doing a 3 mile loop down to the Steel bridge and back. The one thing JJ feels like he couldn’t bike without is his light set! He knows that staying visible is extremely important and having the proper lights on your bike is essential.
Thanks for your determination and enthusiasm, JJ, and keep up the hard work!