Saturday, May 23, 2015

5 Tips (and more!) From A Self-Professed Bike Geek

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By Laurel McJannet



Does the guy pictured above look familiar? He should-- he's Roland, our resident, year-round bike commuter often featured on our Bike to Work efforts (above left is a screenshot from our #MovesLikeTransit video). You can also see him on our video showing how to use our bike racks on buses.

Besides being our resident cyclist, Roland is also a strategic unit planning manager in our Planning and Development Department, pulling together data about our buses and surrounding communities to help the agency create and update our plans for adding service-- like this Transit Development Plan, for instance.

Ah, but this is about Roland and his biking prowess. Here's what he had to say:

How often do you ride to work?
Usually 3 or 4 days a week, year-round.

How long is your commute? 7 miles each way, 25-30 minutes. 

Do you combine bus and bike? 
Frequently. Usually bike and Swift in the morning and then just bike in the afternoon.

How often to you bike outside of Bike Month?  All the time.

Why do you bike?
It's always been part of who I am.  Fitness, mental well-being, I like to see the sights up-close.

I'm a bike geek. 

I like keeping our air clean.  I save a lot of money.  We've always been a one-car family and have been able to 
keep it that way, even with two teenage daughters.  Living where I can bike and bus to work is critical.

What do you like most about biking?
It's fun. I always look forward to my commute-- how many people can say that?

What makes biking to work challenging at times?
Carrying cargo.  Dry cleaning, shoes, boxes, plants.  After 25 years of bike commuting, you get very strategic
about what objects to leave in your office and how to carry them on the bike.

What kind of bike do you ride? 
I currently ride a steel-frame Cyclo-cross bike equipped with fenders, rack and lights for commuting.  It's 
comfortable, not flashy and does really well in the rain.


What advice do you have for the beginning bike rider who is contemplating biking to work?
Get out there and try it!  Don't get hung up on having all the right equipment or clothing.  Get a functional bike.  Find a place to park it (rack, stairwell, office).

Look for ways to make it easy-- combining bus and bike can get you over hills, distance or high-traffic areas.

Thanks for the tips, Roland!

Friday, May 22, 2015

This "Scotty" Won't Beam You Up, But He Sure is Great for a Bike Ride

Dana poses with "Scotty," his Scott Peak mountain bike.
Recruited by fellow Team VeloCeeTee member, Rita, Dana has been participating in Bike to Work Month (and the team) for 8 or 9 seasons. 

Here's my interview with Dana, a transportation supervisor at Community Transit. (He's the guy who finds out about city and state construction and road work so we can plan re-routes to keep our service running smoothly.) 

How often do you ride outside of Bike to Work Month?

I ride 2-3 times/week through the year.  (Not quite so much if piles of snow or ice are in the bike lanes or the roadways.)

Why do you ride a bike?
Several reasons for my rides: 
  • My health
  • Saves wear and tear on my car
  • Some quality time without radios
  • Community Transit does give me a TIP* benefit, which I appreciate
  • Personal satisfaction that I have done what I have done
  • Thankfulness that I can do what I have been doing
  • Some pleasing views and fragrances in nature that I would miss in the car
  • Some quality time with other passengers aboard the bus trips
  • I enjoy and appreciate my bus drivers; etc. :)
  • Oops!  I answered this question quite a bit!
What makes biking to work challenging at times?
Weather-- and sometimes getting away from the office a bit later than desired some evenings.

What kind of bike do you ride?
My “Scotty” is a Scott Peak mountain bike, which now has road tires.  I believe it is a 1993 vintage.

Dana's advice for the beginning bike rider contemplating biking to work:
I agree with Alex on being aware of bus schedules and comfort. 

Also, a rider needs to allow enough time for emergent situations, like flat tires, an occasional street/road closure; more than enough bikes on the bus by the time it gets to your stop; know how to change/repair a flat; a helmet-mounted mirror is a very good investment; always be aware of the traffic on all sides of you; always be courteous (There are more than enough snarky or arrogant riders and drivers out there already.).


It can be really easy to become discouraged in the early stages.  If a person does not overdo it or give up early on, the little steps of the beginning and early stages will eventually become an accomplishment that will bring a great deal of satisfaction.  (Take that from a 62-year-old!)

Thanks, Dana! So, you've heard from three of our Team VeloCeeTee bike commuters. Have you put your two wheels to the test?

*TIP stands for Travel Incentive Program where employees earn incentives for using alternate ways to commute to work besides driving alone-- like, biking to work! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Want to feel amazing and energized when you get to work? Bike to Work!


By Laurel McJannet

Alex is one of our newest Community Transit employees, but he's not new to the world of biking to work. So, it was only natural for him to join Team VeloCeeTee during Bike to Work Month.

Ok, Alex. Same questions I asked Rita-- ready...set...go! (Answers below!)

Alex commutes to our Kasch Park Operations Base 4-5 days a week.

How often do you bike outside of Bike Month?
Regular bicycle commuter- 4-5 days per week.

Why do you bike?
Primarily health and stress reasons-- I simply cannot put up with sitting in traffic when I could be pedaling through a beautiful forest on the North Creek trail, or zipping past congestion on the InterUrban.

I feel amazing and energized when I get to work, I get the best parking in the office, and I’ve met my daily cardio goals-- and then some!

What do you like most about biking?
It’s such an easy way to get around. No need to worry about parking or traffic, just a straight shot to my destination.

What makes biking to work challenging at times?
Weather can be tricky, and dealing with time constraints or hauling in the middle of the day.

Luckily, Community Transit accommodates for all of that--I can shower and change at the office, take transit for part of my trip with my ORCA Card, and use a company vehicle for midday meetings.

Alex’s Bike: I have a Spot Wazee, which is a little company based out of Golden, CO that specializes in belt-drive bikes. I love it.

Alex’s advice for the beginning bike rider contemplating biking to work:

Plan your route in advance and give it a trial run on the weekend. That’ll give you an idea of the time it’ll take-- and you don’t even have to factor in rush hour since that really doesn’t apply to bikes! Also, bring a few changes of clothes and some shower stuff and leave it at your office for those days you get rained on or are a little too sweaty for business as usual.

Thanks, Alex-- and welcome to Community Transit! Has Alex inspired you to bike to work?


Friday, May 15, 2015

Team VeloCeeTee Redefines Commuting with Heart


By Laurel McJannet

The wheels on the bus go round and round, but employees on Team VeloCeeTee get all over town (and to work) with the velocity of two wheels and lots of heart.

The team represents a cross section of employees that make up Community Transit: Transportation, Strategic Planning, Transportation Demand Management/Marketing, and Transportation Service Planning.


Pictured (left to right): Rocky Cazares, Rita Fox, Roland Behee, Alex Mehn, Sara Hayden and Dana Osborn.
Biking goes beyond Bike to Work Day and Month for members of Team VeloCeeTee. Some bike year-round. Many dust off their bikes as soon as the weather warms up. Given all this experience (and because I'm a hesitant wanna-be bike commuter myself), I posed this question to the team:

What advice do you have for the beginning bike rider who is contemplating biking to work?

"Get out there and try it! Don't get hung up on having all the right equipment or clothing. Get a functional bike, Find a place to park it (rack, stairwell, office). Look for ways to make it easy-- combining bus and bike can get you over hills, distance or high traffic areas." - Roland

"Plan your route in advance and give it a trial run on the weekend. That'll give you an idea of the time it'll take-- and you don't even have to factor in rush hour since that really doesn't apply to bikes!" Also, bring a few changes of clothes and some shower stuff and leave it at your office for those days you get rained on or are a little too sweaty for business as usual." - Alex

"Try it, even if you only do it once a week. You don’t have to have all the latest gear or an expensive bike, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the exercise you get, and how you contribute to making your carbon foot print just a wee bit smaller.  It counts." - Rita


"It can be really easy to become discouraged in the early stages.  If a person does not overdo it or give up early on, the little steps of the beginning and early stages will eventually become an accomplishment that will bring a great deal of satisfaction.  (Take that from a 62-year-old!)" - Dana

Do you bike to work? What advice do you have for biking to work? To school? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

5 Answers, 1 Piece of Advice On Why to Bike to Work

If you haven't already heard by now, May is Bike to Work Month. This Friday, May 15 is Bike to Work Day where diehard bikers and tentative beginners will hit the road to get to their 9-to-5 gig, biking alone or on a team.

Speaking of teams, we have one at Community Transit. While it's gone through a few name changes over the years, this year's team, Team VeloCeeTee (Get it?) is six members strong. We interviewed some of the team members to find out why they bike and asked what their advice would be for first time bike commuters.

First up: Rita, an administrative assistant in our Transportation Department. She has biked on the team for several years and also enjoys biking in her free time. 

picture of Rita with her bike
How often do you bike outside of Bike Month?
Once a week or so from Spring to Fall. I'm a weekend cyclist basically, but do enjoy mid-week riders in the summer when there's more light.

Why do you bike?
Because I love outdoor exercise and have always loved riding bikes ever since I was a kid. I love riding trails and just soaking up nature along the way. Stationary bikes are good exercise, but just aren't the same.

What do you like most about biking?
Going fast! Having a destination and getting exercise along the way-- challenging myself to hills and feeling the breeze (on a hot day) on the way down the other side.

What makes biking to work challenging at times?
Hard it do it with after work commitments and when you're sick or when it's just dumping down rain. Or, pea soup fog. I won't ride in fog.

Rita's Bike: a Specialized Dolce road bike.

Rita's advice for the beginning bike rider contemplating biking to work:
Try it-- even if you do it once a week. What matters is the exercise you get and how you contribute to making your carbon footprint just a week bit smaller. It counts!

Thanks, Rita! 

What do you think? Will you be biking to work anytime soon?









Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How to Commend Your Bus Driver

Today is the day. You've decided you're finally going to let us know how much you appreciate your bus driver. You grab a cup of coffee, sit down at your computer, open up a new document...

And this happens:




Writer's block! 

Don't worry. We're here to help! Commendations don't have to be formal or lengthy-- just speak (or in this case, write) from the heart and go from there. Here are some examples of actual commendations our coach operators recently received:

“I ride the route 412 that leaves McCollum Park and Ride at 6:47 a.m.  I must compliment our bus driver.  He is kind, cautious and makes sure we arrive on time.  He goes out of his way when bus riders ask him for help.  On January 9, he did an act of kindness that shouldn’t go unnoticed.  Please let him know I say thank you!”

“On February 14 I rode the northbound 116 that arrived at Ash Way Park and Ride at 19:02.  The 116 was a little late arriving and I needed to catch the northbound 201.  Sarah, the operator of the 116 honked at the 201 and got that driver’s attention so he waited and I was able to make my connection.  This really made my Valentine’s Day!”

“I ride the first southbound 880 at 5:40 a.m. from 35th and 148th.  The operator of this route is very friendly and a good driver.  He makes the ride fun.  Please let him know I think he’s great!”

“I want to commend the driver of the route 115 on January 30 as he was amazing.  He took the time to explain to me how to ride a different bus, explaining the map and even tried to hold the other bus for me.  I really appreciated his help."

Key things to have in your commendation:
  • Driver name (if you know it)
  • Time, Route and Day (so we can find out who the driver is so s/he gets their commendation)

Commendations are gathered and shared with drivers via a formal letter (like this one, left) and put in their employee file. Your commendation will help the driver earn recognition and service awards.

So, when you’ve got your commendation ready to go, you can:

Remember, commendations are excepted (and welcomed!) year-round and not just on Bus Driver Appreciation Day (March 18).



Have you written a commendation lately? What writing tips do you have for others?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Community Transit recognizes leaders in smart transportation choices!

Community Transit’s Choice Connections program recognizes worksites in Snohomish County and the City of Bothell who support Washington State Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) goals. They go above and beyond to encourage their employees to use smart transportation options to driving alone.

Congratulations to the Choice Connections award winners for 4th Quarter 2014:
Smart Commuter of the Quarter
Joyce Nelson is a project manager for technology security at AT&T. She is very adept at managing her carbon footprint using smart transportation options to commute by vanpooling and telecommuting for over 20 years.  Traveling 84 miles daily, four days a week, she and her vanpool partners are helping to take vehicles off the road and save time every day by sharing the commute.
 

Employee Transportation Coordinator (ETC) of the Quarter
Natalya Tatarinov is a very active ETC for her worksite, Molina Healthcare. She provides brochures to new hires and tells them about the benefits of carpooling.  She regularly shares the regional rideshare promotions with her employees, such as the state-wide Wheel Options campaign, and information about their worksite transportation program. Molina Healthcare’s employee lunchroom is always well stocked with flyers and posters, giving employees another way to learn about their smart transportation options. With Natalya’s guidance, Molina employees have removed over 20,000 drive alone trips from our roads, and reduced over 10,800 pounds of CO2 from the air during the fourth quarter alone.   

Employer of the Quarter
FUJIFILM SonoSite increased bus and vanpool riders due to company paid ORCA cards and vanpool subsidies. They offer their employees a wide variety of resources to learn about available smart transportation options to their worksite.  Their worksite had an impressive savings of over 4,300 pounds of CO2, and over 6,100 drive alone trips reduced from our local roads during the fourth quarter of 2014.

Choice Connections rewards commuters for choosing a smart transportation options and offers the tools and resources needed to get started. When you choose a smart commute, your efforts reduce traffic, save money and time, and help the environment. To learn more about the Choice Connections program, please visit Community Transit Choice Connections.