Name: Andréa French
Company: Studeo55 / Electronic Arts
Occupation: General Manager
- We’ve heard you are an early bird. Can you take us through your morning routine?
Haha…well…I get up at 4:30 a.m. every day. I need 30 minutes of quiet to start my day. 3 days a week, I run 5 miles at 5 a.m. and am out the door by 6:30 a.m.
- What is an average workday like?
I hit the ground running and don’t stop till I leave! I work with about 100 different stakeholders in any given day: my teammates, our clients and our various partners in our workplace. I teach 2-3 fitness classes per day, meet with clients and correspond with my teammates around the world (Studeo Beverly Hills and Studeo Vancouver)
- How long have you been biking to work?
I started biking to work in May during the Bike to Work Week initiative. The first few days were really tough. By day 3, I bought the correct gear. Day 5, I bought a brand new Brodie bike and I’ve never looked back.
- What made you want to start riding to work?
I always like the idea of making my way quietly through Vancouver bike lanes, away from the traffic and congestion. I also loved the idea of combining fitness and commuting…
- What sticks out in your memory from those first few rides?
Ohhhh the hills. Just the hills. I have an 8 mile commute from Granville Island to Burnaby and I’ve got a lot of hills to climb!
- Has your perception of bike commuting changed since you started?
Yes, it has. In the beginning I imagined that it wouldn’t be sustainable, that it would be hard, that it would take too long – yadda yadda. They were all false perceptions. I’m allergic to the idea of being held back from trying anything new though, so I was determined to give it a shot.
- Did anything hold you back at the beginning?
Yes, I was overwhelmed at the idea of learning everything at once: bike etiquette, safety, but mostly: the bike routes! Those inhibitions inspired me to spearhead an Orientation Ride initiative at my workplace – where more experienced riders could literally lead the way for new riders in their workplace.
- What do you need to pack on your commute? What clothing do you typically wear at work?
I need two changes of clothes, my laptop and a lot of food! I wear business attire and fitness clothing – depending on what “hat” I’m wearing!
- If you forget one thing when you get to work from time to time (D’oh!) what is it?
It is ALWAYS my security access badge. They see me coming at the security desk and just smile and shake their heads. 🙂
- How did you handle all your gear before using your Classic Garment Pannier?
2 panniers and a backpack, it was awful.
- Has the Classic Garment Pannier changed the way you approach your bike commute?
Yes, it simply removed an obstacle and streamlined my routines.
- Any gear packing tips?
Invest in a second set of cosmetics and leave them at work.
- How long is your commute?
- What is the most funny/interesting thing you’ve seen while on your bike?
I see a very interesting recumbent bike on my commute! The guy has built a space pod around it and it has some crazy antenna. I think he’s from the future.
- Have you had any close calls while cycling? (Accidents/injuries)
As a result of packing panniers unevenly, I completely tipped over in the middle of an intersection while trying to go left. That was not awesome.
- Is there anything that has made you want to give up bike commuting?
Not gonna lie, don’t love riding in the rain. We’ll test it out this fall. Not making any promises. 🙂
- What kind of a bike(s) do you ride?
I ride a Brodie Roam and a Linus Roadster Classic.
- What kind of a bike rack do you use?
A black one.
- How does your bike commute affect your productivity and mood at work?
Simple: I get to work feeling pretty bad ass.
- Are people surprised when you tell them you bike to work?
Always. “Woah, from Granville Island? Seriously?”
- What is the best thing you’ve learned in your commuting experience that you would pass on to someone just starting out?
Ask for help. My experience has been that the cycling community is incredibly supportive but it can feel like there’s a secret handshake to get “in”. It’s simply not the case, but you do no need to put up your hand and ask for help. My local bike shop was a huge help but it’s been other cyclists at my workplace that have helped me with everything.
- You know a lot about physical fitness. Have you noticed any additional health benefits that come with being a daily bike commuter?
I didn’t think my resting heart rate could get any lower – but it did!
- What other hobbies, sports and activities do you enjoy?
My favourite pastime is hanging out with my 8 year old son! As for sports, I’m a dedicated runner. I’m training for my 11th half marathon and have completed 5 full marathons. I also teach yoga and am really involved at my church.
- I’m curious what is your favorite food?…and your favorite adult beverage?
I love Korean food. All of it! My favourite adult beverage is coffee 🙂