Angela Long’s Rad Power electric-assist cargo bike (often with an extra passenger in tow) is hard to miss. An avid bike commuter, she wanted to bike more with her son, and discovered that a cargo bike was an investment but well worth the payoff. Angela’s dedication to fostering a positive image of biking made her story the perfect one to kick off Bike Month! Read on for a Q & A to learn more about her biking journey.
Do you ride your bike to work? For shopping or visiting friends? For recreation or sport?
Until recently, I have mostly ridden my bike to work; however, now that I have an electric cargo bike I ride all the time and everywhere! I love that I can travel with my son without worrying about him. I used to drive everywhere with him because he is not a strong rider, and it isn’t safe for him to ride outside our neighborhood.
If you ride to work, how many miles is your commute?
About 12 to 19 miles, depending on the route I take, and if I need to take my son to a no-school camp.
Do you combine biking with another mode/way to get where you need to go?
If I am not biking, I try to walk or take TriMet to where I need to go. I am trying to only drive a vehicle for trips that are more than 30 miles one way. So far my electric bike is making it easier for me to do that!
How long have you been riding to work?
I have been riding my bike for 3 years, from March to October. With my new bike I am hoping to ride year round. In 2012, I bought a new Honda Fit. Owning a vehicle came with a lot of benefits, but had disadvantages too. During the seven years I had the car, I realized I was driving everywhere which increased my carbon footprint, resulted in auto expenses, and decreased my physical activity.
Why did you start riding? What was the motivation?
I started riding for enjoyment a long time ago. I hadn’t really made it a lifestyle choice until recently. I had a hard time figuring out how to make it work with a child. I wish I had considered an electric bike ago. I would have ridden so much more. It’s the one thing I regret about my cycling journey.
What is your favorite thing about riding?
I love that I can be a part of the world around me when I ride. I feel free. It’s calming even in the worst weather.
How is your day or life different when you ride a bike?
On days I ride, I feel so much calmer and hungrier! I seriously have to keep snacks at my desk at all times now or I get “hangry” by 10 am! Seriously though, it helps me be a better person. It seems silly, but spending an hour on my bike is so much more relaxing to me than driving in traffic and finding parking. I love that I can hop on my bike and go, and then hop off and park anywhere!
What were some barriers or obstacles you had to overcome in order to start bike commuting?
I had to figure out how to take my son with me to places. I am terrified to have my son ride on busy streets or to have him ride more than a couple of miles, in fear that he’d be too tired to ride home. I want my child to see a world where he can get to places without a vehicle, and if I can’t do that with him, he’ll never know how to do it himself. Being a role model for him was the biggest motivator for me. Another barrier for me was the cost to buy a bike that I could cart my son around in.
How did you overcome those barriers or obstacles? Was there anyone (or any group) that encouraged or helped you find solutions?
I have to give a huge shout-out to Rad Power Bikes in Seattle! I emailed them to let them know I wanted to sell my car and buy an electric cargo bike, but that I couldn’t afford a brand new bike because I am saving up to buy a house. They emailed me back right away and offered to sell me a floor model at a discounted cost. I feel like they really wanted to help me make cycling a lifestyle, and it wasn’t just about selling me a bike. I love the community that comes with biking. Also, I love the Lloyd Cycle Station! If I didn’t have a safe place to store my bike, I would not ride it to and from work as often.
What issues or concerns do you have riding?
I am terrified of being hit by a car. I have almost been hit several times. The worst part of my ride is the Sellwood/Woodstock area; specifically streets around Bybee, Woodstock, 17th, Milwaukie, 45th and 52nd. Cars never stop at bike intersections or drive the speed limit. I also avoid riding downtown because there isn’t a secure place to store my bike. It would be cool if there was a Lloyd Cycle Station downtown!
Do you have any stories about riding to share that are surprising, funny, or educational?
Don’t ride with your mouth open unless you like eating bugs!