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Meet Brian

Name: Brian
Occupation: Barista
Employer: Metro Coffee
Gets around by: Bicycle

Where do you live and where do you work?
I live in East Tacoma and work downtown on the UWT campus.

How do you get there?
I have an easy morning ride as it is mostly downhill via McKinley past the Tacoma Dome, or McKinley to Jefferson Ave via the Tacoma Ave Bridge. Both routes have bike lanes and/or wide shoulders and it is always fun to speed down the long hills before work. The ride home is uphill either way, but I will avoid the Tacoma Dome if I know there is a concert or other high traffic event.

How does it all add up?
I have always loved bikes, but when I started driving I got hooked on driving and building cars and drove most places until I left the country. When I moved to Japan to work for a car tuning shop my perspective on driving shifted. Driving, parking, and even owning a vehicle costs more in Japan and I was limited to public transit most of the time. I walked, biked and took the trains. (To get an idea of the significance of bikes in Japan you can do a Google image search for Japanese bike parking.)  When I returned to Tacoma I reconsidered how I do things and committed to commuting on my bicycle more. I have a grocery store, gym, great bars, and a post office on my route, so there isn’t much more I can ask for.

How much money and time do you save?
I don’t save much (if any) time on my normal commute, however I save myself a ton of aggravation by not having to find a parking space near UWT. I usually work from 9 a.m. -7 p.m. so there aren’t many open spaces by the time I get to work, but I can always stash my bike in the back room. I easily save $100 a month in fuel costs, probably more considering the potential cost of parking tickets and wear and tear on my vehicle.

What’s in it for you?
I try to lead by example and I like to think that I am inspiring other people to try using their bikes as transportation. Starting and ending the day with some exercise has improved my fitness and overall mood, especially in the fall and winter when it is too dark to go out after work. I have also made friends with fellow riders so riding to work even has social benefits.

Do you have any tips for people who might be trying this mode for the first time?
When I talk about biking to work most people seem intimidated by the hills, but you can always take a bus uphill at first. The hills of Tacoma can often be mitigated if you are willing to take a round-about route, which helps you build up to steeper climbs.  Also, stay visible with good lights or a high visibility jacket.

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