Occupation: Farmers’ market organizer
Employer: Tacoma Farmers’ Market
Gets around by: Bike
Where do you live and where do you work?
I live in an apartment on 6th and Anderson. I work for the Tacoma Farmers Market, so I end up working all over Tacoma at our three market locations. Our office is located downtown on 9th and Market, but I work on site at our three markets as well. Our markets are: the Broadway Farmers Market, which is downtown on 9th and Broadway; the 6th Avenue Farmers Market, which is on 6th and N. Pine; and the South Tacoma Farmers Market, which is at the STAR Center.
How do you get there?
I bike around Tacoma a lot, but since I recently graduated from the University of Puget Sound I have found that my needs as a cyclist have changed. To safely bike downtown I need to purchase a new bike, which is something that I have had to save up for. Unfortunately, I have been driving a lot more than I’d like this year, but once I purchase my new bike I will be able to bike downtown and walk to the 6th Avenue Farmers’ Market. Getting to South Tacoma by bike is a little more difficult, so I will probably continue to drive to that location.
How does it all add up?
It’s hard for people to believe, but biking is often more efficient than driving. Once you learn that best routes to take you can avoid traffic and take secret short cuts that aren’t possible in a car! Once I am able to start biking downtown it will cut gas costs at least in half; I will probably end up saving around $40 a month, which definitely adds up (especially as a recent college grad with student loans to pay!).
What’s in it for you?
First, biking is a blast. I think a lot of people underestimate the enjoyment that comes from riding a bike when it fits your body and it is working properly; when your bike really fits it can feel like your flying. There is just nothing better than coasting down a hill on a warm summer day. Beyond enjoyment, biking makes economic and political sense. American infrastructure was built around the car, and thus the oil industry. But oil is not an unlimited resource and the consequences of a society reliant on oil are vast and dangerous. I’m not claiming that biking will change this trend, but starting with this kind of personal change is how entire movements begin; I would love to see Tacoma infrastructure develop to be more bike friendly and if we have more bikers on the streets, I believe the City will respond.
Do you have any tips for people who may be trying this mode for the first time?
I would suggest starting out by making a few trips close to home to get a feel for being in car traffic on your bike. Also, don’t be afraid to make big gestures when you’re moving through traffic. You might think you look ridiculous, but having cars see you is definitely worth the humiliation!
Also, it is more than possible to wear nice clothes while biking. For the ladies out there: you can wear a skirt and ride your bike! Even a short one! If you’re not wearing tights or leggings, just throw on a pair of spandex shorts and your good to go. Plus, it’s pretty liberating!