Laurie Smith's Commuter Challenge Story

This fall we challenged our staff to shake up their routines by replacing a trip they typically take by car with any other means of transportation. Our Development Manager, Laurie Smith, took us up on the challenge. Here’s her story! 


“I don’t know how to deal with helmet head,” I said, and immediately regretted it. I was participating in a storytelling workshop with my colleagues, and someone asked me why I didn’t bike to work—yet. And every so often since then, one of my colleagues dishes a good-natured tease about “helmet head.” 

But let’s step back. In the fall of 2018, at my final interview for the Development Manager at Local Motion, one of my future colleagues asked me, “Since you live 5 miles away, will you bike to work?” and I eagerly said, “Oh yes, of course!” I really did intend to bike to work. But fall was busy, and my bike wasn’t tuned up. Those were my first lame excuses. Winter gave me a good excuse for a few more months, and then a wet May and June, followed by a too-hot July, and a too-busy August. But by September my excuses had run out.

In late September, I hosted a work event just 3 miles from my home. Okay, I can do this. I tried the route the day before (in the rain!)  and, armed with the travel time, I commuted to “work” on Malletts Bay on September 25th—in a skirt! And it worked out just fine. 

Finally, I took to the road...or, rather, bike path, from my home in Colchester to the Burlington Waterfront. And I’ve kept it going once or twice a week ever since! 

Now, I plan my work week around the days that I can ride to work, and I’m thinking about ways to make next season’s commute easier. That could mean an e-bike, and building my confidence with Everyday Bicycling and Bike Mechanics workshops. Oh, and my holiday wish list includes some high-visibility clothing! As for how I’m dealing with the dreaded “helmet head?” Ponytails. Really, it’s not that hard.


 


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