I started working as director of the UCLA Emeriti/Retirees Relations Center on April 18, 2016, after working for nearly 22 years at UC Davis. Coming from an extremely bicycle-friendly small town where I was an avid bike commuter, I was a bit apprehensive about the prospect of bicycling in Los Angeles so I purchased a parking permit and joined the masses coming to campus by car.
Then I heard about the Earn-A-Bike program and decided to find out more. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I had turned in my parking permit and was equipped with a brand new bike, helmet, lock and lights. With the addition of a few extra accessories (baskets, a large rear-view mirror, biking gloves and a water bottle), I was ready to hit the road.
I am loving my six-mile, 40-minute commute from Santa Monica. I do take extra precautions to increase my visibility and avoid the heaviest traffic in the urban environment, including:
- Adjusting my work schedule to arrive at the office by 7 a.m. and leave by 4:15 p.m.
- Adding a flashing headlight and taillight to my helmet
- Wearing a fluorescent vest adorned with reflective tape
- Going out of my way a bit to ride primarily on quiet residential streets
- Riding on the sidewalk on one short section where the road is narrow, curvy and hilly
- In the winter months, riding my bike one direction and bringing it on the bus the other direction, as I do not like riding in the dark
I look forward to my daily rides as a time to plan for the day ahead and reflect on my accomplishments at the end of the day. And, as an added bonus, I have lost 10 pounds and increased both my stamina and fitness level, which at age 57 is always a plus.