We've started writing up profiles and collecting stories from neighborhood people who ride bikes to work, for fun, and for fitness. Here is our third installment of "Pedaler Profiles" with Jesse Flores. If you know anyone that we should interview, of if YOU want to be interviewed, contact us.
Employer: Oregon Metro, Project Management
Neighborhood: Vancouver, Washington
Commute Distance: 16 miles one way
Ride (s): In Summer, a Scott road bike, in Winter, a Soma Smoothie
Favorite part of riding: Cross training and sense of freedom
Least favorite: Stopping for the I-5 bridge lift
Jesse Flores moved to the Portland area from Anchorage, Alaska 3 and a half years ago and has been bike commuting from Vancouver, Washington ever since. He used to only ride in the summer and only for fun on mountain bike trails. He says living in Portland/Vancouver area with such great bike and transit infrastructure and mild weather there is no excuse not to ride. " I can ride year round and not just 3 months out of the year."
He originally was looking for a way to get more cross training as a marathon runner but quickly found other great benefits to bike commuting, he saved on gas money had a more reliable commute time and was less stressed. His favorite part of riding is when he is zooming past all of the stopped cars stuck in traffic on the interstate bridge to Vancouver. He loves the sense of freedom that comes with riding, no need to get stuck in traffic. He also has noticed that people visiting will stop and chat with him at traffic lights about how great the bike culture here is.
Jesse didn't have to change much to start riding to work, he does get up earlier, but that's about it. When he lived in Anchorage there was a long multi-day bike race that he was hesitant to try called the Fireweed 400. After riding to work here for a few years he felt confident enough to try the 200 mile race with a friend. Now he will race the Fireweed 400 every year and is considering starting a Metro team.
He recommends that if people want to start riding, to try it once a week or to combine it with transit. There are so many benefits to riding for him, from saving money to getting a great workout and it is so refreshing. He used to ride the bus from Vancouver to work in the morning and ride his bike home so he didn't need to shower and change before work in the morning. He suggests making sure you have good gear for the winter to make it easier too. He also notes that the maps and resources for finding good bike routes here are wonderful and to use them.