I didn’t intend to have a mindset change or get this involved. All I wanted to do was ride my bicycle back and forth to work to save on fuel costs and ride for fun.
Flashback to my start, My Own Ignorance for those that may need the history. This was a time of personal growth for me. Bicycling is fun, enjoyable, and liberating. Finding the right people to show you how is the key element. I’ve found quite a few here on this blog and more on many others. What a GREAT community we have here on CommuteOrlando!
There is an abundance of information to be had by surfing the internet or by simply asking. Taking the initiative to overcome my perceived fear of cycling in the road, my self-education has helped me to gain a much better understanding of the dynamics of bicycle transport and created a lifestyle change for me.
A Change in Thinking
Being fortunate to work at the airport, I would ask coworkers to drop me at the terminal to catch a flight to visit my family in GA. Having family working close to the Atlanta International Airport was great. A ride was just a phone call away. Except when it was their telecommute day(s). Talk about an inconvenience for me and for family to drive nearly an hour to pick me up and/or drop me off.
Coming back to Orlando one time, a coworker was unable to meet me upon my arrival as we had prearranged. Not knowing, I hired a shuttle to take me to my vehicle parked at work. The relatively short 4 mile trip ended with the fare of $18. OUTRAGEOUS, I told myself. There had to be a better way.
Discovering our local bus transport system, LYNX, I expanded my self reliance beyond the bicycle. I read about multi-modal transportation and decided if such would work for me. Finding out that timing is the key was the first hurdle to overcome. I first tested the waters when visiting my family in GA two years ago.
Sure enough, after some digging, I found it was possible to get myself to the airport, make my flight, take the light rail, then catch an express bus and vice versa back home while traveling multi-modal. Family would have to spend nearly two hours of their time getting to and from the airport. Using the public transportation system(s), I could get to a park & ride lot near them (either 3 or 4 miles away) in half the time.
Since then, I have done quite a bit of bike and bus trips locally. Sanford, Lake Mary, Casselberry, and Altamonte Springs are easily reached. Gaining an understanding of using various forms of transport increased my desire to help others learn the ease and enjoyment of getting around.
I Don’t Consider Myself an Advocate
Although I don’t professionally claim to be a cycling advocate, my actions, beliefs, and intentions define me as such. I now have several opportunities to get the news out, especially for those who seek to have this knowledge which include instructor capacities for the Florida Safety Council, the Florida Bicycle Association and working with Florida Department of Transportation’s ride share program.
Alternative Transportation Education
The ultimate goal of the Alternative Transportation Education (ATE) course is to provide education to individuals regarding various types of commuting options. Often times these individuals do not have access to a vehicle or do not have the ability to drive.
The ATE course was designed for individuals utilizing methods of transportation other than personal vehicles. The ATE course outlines and describes alternate transportation options and identifies their benefits and limitations.
- Benefits and limitations of using the transit system.
- Benefits and limitations of walking.
- Traffic laws and the meanings of traffic signs and symbols.
- Limits of perception.
- How to cross safely.
- Benefits and limitations of bicycling.
- Crash types and avoidance.
- Seeing and being seen.
- Making signals turn green.
- Riding in bike lanes.
- Public transportation issues and opportunities.
I was honored to be selected as one of the inaugural Cycling Savvy Instructors (CSI) this past February. A fun-filled, extensive, and exhausting weekend gave us CSI’s the in’s and out’s of teaching others the skills needed to become a more empowered and confident cyclist.
reThink Your Commute
I have recently expressed an interest in becoming the Employee Transportation Coordinator using the reThink Your Commute program. Long way to go to be up and running on this one.
CommuteOrlando started organizing social rides a couple years ago. This has been a boon to those who feel uncomfortable riding in the streets. The group setting adds to the comfort level and also creates social atmosphere. Add the wonderful destinations and end activities, and we show just how enjoying and safe cycling can be.
Workshops are being planned to increase the use of bicycles with trailers to take on our S-Cargo rides.
Build the community – Fund local transportation systems
Transportation funding is quite the buzzword of late. One common complaint about bus service is the route structure and not available 24/7. I was surprised myself to hear that LYNX and others are not self-sufficient. They rely on government (state, city, and federal) subsidies to operate. How many of our readers know this fact?
SunRail will enhance our transportation system(s). Currently, the infrastructure is not in place to begin this growth and with funding and time it will be. We must change our thinking about the highly wasteful use of the automobile. I’m looking into car sharing programs now. For $60 a year, you can have access to a motor vehicle on an hourly or daily (rental) basis. Many of these users (ZipSters) have reduced their need for an auto down to 5,500 miles per year. Other research indicates that operating an automobile comes with an average out of pocket cost $8,500/year.
MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) was initially funded by the Federal Government. The surrounding counties were asked then if they wanted to be included. They refused. Now some years later, these counties are trying to play catch-up with feeder bus systems. What an opportunity missed!
Fund the transportation systems for multi-occupant vehicles and not the single-occupant motor vehicles.
When opportunity knocks and you don’t answer, it goes somewhere else. Guess we should have went and answered the door! Let’s not miss another opportunity.