Sue Barnes

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:

  1. Adjusting my work schedule to arrive at the office by 7 a.m. and leave by 4:15 p.m.
  2. Adding a flashing headlight and taillight to my helmet
  3. Wearing a fluorescent vest adorned with reflective tape
  4. Going out of my way a bit to ride primarily on quiet residential streets
  5. Riding on the sidewalk on one short section where the road is narrow, curvy and hilly
  6. 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.