Nell Cochran began riding her bike to work a year ago. Her 9-mile commute between her home and her office in Washington DC takes her along the Mt. Vernon Trail, a multi-use path paralleling the Potomac River.
“I remember seeing my first sunrise on a bike and thinking how lucky I was to be able to start my day outside and combine my commute time with my workout time,” she recalled.
Leaving the path, her route then winds past the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument before she arrives at her work as a Supervisor for an Executive Staff Unit near the US Capitol. “I love getting to ride to work along the river and riding past the DC monuments.”
Although she appreciated the outdoor time and the ability to be free from the hassle of DC public transit, there was one significant issue: clothes. “Finding a way to get business attire into the office in wearable condition without having to drive in once or twice a week to shuttle clothing held me back,” she said. “I tried shuttling clothes by car a couple times a week but didn’t enjoy that method at all. My husband started researching panniers and surprised me with the Two Wheel Gear Garment Pannier as a gift.”
Once the packing issue was resolved, Nell was free to focus on the other things that make bike commuting great: the scenery, the exercise, the fresh air, or just taking the time to enjoy the ride in with a friend or with her husband.
Nell’s advice for first-time bike commuters? “Do your homework and find a good route. Then enjoy the ride and mix it up. Some days ride all out and other days take your time and enjoy the time outdoors. Carry the items necessary to deal with a flat tire. Keep a tire lever, spare tube and small pump in your pannier.”
Although her bike commuting does raise some eyebrows from people who are concerned about riding in DC traffic, Nell says nothing has made her want to give it up. “I start my day doing something I love. When I get to work, I feel great and ready to take on the day. And I notice the runners on the trail usually have a grimace and the bikers have a smile!”