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A Bike Commuter is Born — On the Bainbridge Ferry

by Ted Johnson

Yesterday was nepotism day here on Commute by Bike. Today it’ll be cronyism.

Tobias Eigen is a friend from the years I spent living in the Washington, DC Beltway — Takoma Park, Maryland to be specific. (“Capital of hippie-land… home of the squirrel lady and that guy who walks around swinging a dead fox.”)

I can’t recall ever seeing Tobias on a bike while we were neighbors. Did he and his wife even have bikes? Yes. Yes, they did. I remember seeing them. In the basement.

But now Tobias lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington, just across Puget Sound from Seattle. He is discovering the joys of the multi-modal bike commute. This account is from Tobias’ blog, saidia:

First Time Biking on the Ferry

Tobias has some pretty good instincts as a photographer. His blog posts includes some great photos, including a view of Seattle from the water that belongs in a frame.

A couple of days ago, Tobias e-mailed me from his phone, while on the ferry for the second time:

Today I biked again, and even put my bike on the front of a bus! So cool… Just getting off the ferry again momentarily… On my bike along with, like, 30 other bikers. Wow.

I take no credit for influencing Tobias to try bike commuting. (Even though I secretly want to claim at least a teeny bit of credit.) It’s likely that an accumulation of many factors and influences brought him to the decision: circumstance, common sense, a focus on quality of life, and about two recent years living in Berlin (ranked as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world).

But he was ready when he was ready.

The lesson here, bike commuters, is that some of your friends and acquaintances will eventually come around all by themselves. Give ‘em time, and keep doing what you’re doing.

 

 
Burley nomad 229

4 Responses to “A Bike Commuter is Born — On the Bainbridge Ferry”

  1. BluesCat says:

    Friday before last, my company had its annual awards dinner. As he was giving me my service award, the CEO mentioned to the audience that I was an avid bicycle commuter.

    Just two days ago, one of my co-workers told me that when her husband heard that, he asked her “Really? He rides a bicycle to work?”

    She told him “Yes, he does, eight miles each way.”

    I guess they live less than five miles from his office, and since then he has bike commuted three or four times.

    See? Who sez the Ol’ Cat ain’t a POSITIVE INFLUENCE IN THE WORLD!

  2. Jesse says:

    I’m jealous of his commute. I live just 3 miles from my current contract gig, but most of it is on a frontage road next to I-5. He gets to ride the ferry, watching the sun rise over the cascades and downtown and the sea otters frolic in the waves…I get to inhale bus exhaust and listen to the bucolic sounds of semis engine braking in morning rush hour.

    sigh.

    At least I get to bike!

  3. Tim Sherman says:

    During the winter the ferries list as the cold wind blows on the Puget Sound. It is extremely cold on the automobile deck.The flat water in these photos will change dramatically as the white caps splash onto the boat. My commute just south of Seattle is on the back side of a very steep hill that blocks the wind from the South Puget Sound. I would rather climb hills than endure the winter weather on the ferry system. It is always warmer when it rains and it rains a lot. I hope that Tobias can learn to keep dry and stay warm by layering. Being the token green guy at work(the only one that commutes year round) has a price. Commuting by bike is the reward. I have inspired others to ride. I know it by the comments I get at the grocery store, the bread store, Costco, the barber shop, the hardware store, and everywhere that I stop. When I don’t feel so good tossing the bike on the front of the bus is so welcomed!

  4. Larry says:

    I guess everyone has their cross to bear, but I was out in Seattle/Bainbridge/Vancouver in Sept., and believe me, you guys have among the most beautiful riding scenery in the U.S., regardless of weather. I live in Chicago and yes, it is nice in the summer, but biking on ice/snow in 15 degree weather is not any fun. The car drivers here are NOT fond of bikers, so you are constantly looking over your shoulder here, wondering if they see you (when they’re not texting). You guys are lucky in my eyes, but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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