City of Bellevue employee Ted Mittlestaedt rides along the Lake to Lake Bike Ride Route. Photo courtesy of City of Bellevue.
When was the last time you rode your bike? Find where you put your bike and pump up the tires because this is a great time to be out on two wheels.
If you’ve never considered commuting by bike, we talked to Ted Mittelstaedt with the City of Bellevue. He’s an avid bike rider and is helping plan this year’s Lake to Lake Bike Ride on September 22. Every day, Ted rides the bus from Maple Valley to Renton and then rides his bike into downtown Bellevue.
Choose Your Way Bellevue: What advice would you give a new rider?
- Practice! If you are unsure of anything, ask a fellow cyclist or take a class.
- Make sure your helmet fits, your bike works well, you know the basics of how your bike works, and can perform basic repairs.
- Start out on parks, trails, bike lanes and low traffic roads.
- If you plan to ride to work on a Monday, try out the commute on weekend.
- Just in case, carry a cell phone, keep a taxi company’s number programmed in your phone, know bus schedules nearby your commute route.
- Respect vehicles by riding defensively, like you are invisible/unseen.
CYWB: What are the benefits you’ve seen in riding your bike to work?
TM: There are the obvious benefits: one less car on the road, less pollution, less money spent on gas, and lower insurance rates. But when I bike to work I feel better mentally and physically. Commuting helps me get ready for the occasional weekend bike event I like to participate in. I think it makes me a better driver since riding your bike forces one to be more aware of your surroundings. And lastly I love passing lines of cars waiting in traffic!
CYWB: What are some common misconceptions people have about riding to work?
TM: The first misconception is that it takes too much time. Whether I drive alone, bike/bus and ride or ride the whole way, it takes about the same amount of time. Also, since I get my commute and workout in at the same time, I don’t need to exercise in the evening. The other main misconception is that it’s dangerous. I feel I am just as safe as other forms of transportation, when I plan ahead and bike in bike lanes, trails or on low traffic roads.
Still not sure if you’re ready to try commuting? The Lake to Lake Bike Ride on September 22 is a great opportunity for you to brush off the cobwebs and give riding another try.
There’s two routes on the bike ride – the Greenbelt Loop is 8 miles and mostly flat; the Lake Loop is a bit more challenging at 20 miles with some elevation gain. Make sure you bring a bike that can handle a variety of terrain including some gravel. A bike mechanic from Gregg’s Cycle will be on hand to assist with safety checks and minor repairs. Check out this YouTube video the City made for the event.
Space is limited so make sure you register soon! You can register online at myParksandRecreation.com using activity code 67033. For more information call 425-452-6885 or email email@example.com.