Deborah Torgler

From Lincoln NE

Commutes 4 Miles RoundTrip for 30 years and months
Five Days a week, I use my bike to travel to and from work Summer Time Only

Nothing special about my route; it's kind of fun in that it's downhill for a little bit to warm up, then on a bike trail a little bit where I can get my heart rate up, then up a little hill, then sprints through the traffic lights downtown. Then just changed the timing on the lights on the street that I ride, though, and I get stuck a block earlier than I used to. Motorists are generally polite, although some don't realize that there are two other lanes going in the same direction that they could use, and insist on using the one I'm in. Occasionally motorists will yell things at me, but I figure they were probably raised badly. They especially seem to hate it if I look to be taking off early at a red light. Usually I'm just mounting the bike and won't pedal until it turns green, but they don't know that and then they're just embarassed.

I'm not a "cyclist", although I've ridden bicycles all my life. I just ride. Grew up with Schwinn skinny tire bikes and in 1977 bought my second Schwinn Suburban; nearly the end of the Chicago Schwinn bikes. Rode it for years and left it outside all the time. It got to be kind of a wreck, but I kept it. Around about 1989 I fell for the hype and got a Bridgestone mountain bike. It's really too small (I still have it, too), but it was stylish. Finally I got tired of it being too small and got a Cannondale H300 hybrid, looking for the old Schwinn ride. It's much bigger, but otherwise doesn't feel terribly comfortable -- the geometry doesn't seem quite right. Pain in the lower back. It has a suspension seat post which I hate and came with a lycra-covered foam saddle. Soft on the sitter at first, but later these get to be terribly uncomfortable too. Anyway, this year for Mother's Day I asked my husband and son to take the old Suburban in and get it worked on. I got it back a few days later and haven't looked back. It has fenders, had a generator light which I've since removed, has these curvy handlebars which put my arms in a much more comfortable position than straight out front, and handles like a dream (the headset needed the most work). Since the Schwinn was 25 years old this year, I bought it a new Brooks leather saddle (no padding but big springs) which was so nice I bought another one for the Cannondale. Until winter came early last week, I only drove to work twice the whole summer in order to have the car to take my mother to doctor's appointments. I haven't actually commuted for all of the 30 years I mentioned, but on and off over all that time. I have also never commuted in the winter (I used to just walk instead) but I think I will this year. I'm going to get nobbier tires for the Bridgestone, since I don't care if it gets all cruddy from road salt. The biggest thing is clothing. I found a great website -- www.foxwear.net -- where they sell Polarfleece clothing at decent prices and am going to stock up. I thought I had another month, but oh, well. Right now my parka is too long and catches on the back of the seat when I dismount, and I need a good hat, but I'm good to go most days anyway. Happy commuting everyone! Don't you just love the smug feeling that comes from burning the best of all possible fuels -- calories???!!!

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