Traveler Spotlight

María Ryan

Occupation: Financial Analyst

How do you usually get to work? 

I usually take C-Tran during the winter/early spring. From home I walk to the transit center. Once the days get longer and there isn’t rain, I ride my bike to the office and back. And if it’s too hot, or I don’t want to ride home, I put my bike on the C-Tran bike rack and get back to the east side just as easily.

Why did you decide to commute this way? 

I decided to commute this way for less wear and tear on our car, no parking expense, and we are a one car household.

How long have you been using this commute option? 

I’ve been using the bus and bike options for over ten years. GetThere SW WA shows I have logged 29,124 miles.

How far is your commute? How long does it take you each way?

My commute is ten miles from the east side of Vancouver to downtown Vancouver. If I’m walking to the transit center and then bus, it takes me ~35 minutes. The bus drops me off downtown, right in front of one of my favorite coffee shops. It’s nice to grab my Americano and continue to the office. If I’m riding my bike, it takes me 45 minutes to work. My bike ride home takes just over 50 minutes (I’ve got some climbs).

What is your favorite thing about your commute? 

Over the years I’ve gotten to know some of the regular riders. We chat. Sometimes I read. I like the bus in the afternoon because it’s a way to decompress from work and transition to my evening. When the days get longer, and I ride my bike, in the mornings, I enjoy passing by all the different neighborhoods (the scenery is really nice when flowers and trees are in bloom) and moving. Once I get to my desk, I feel energized and ready to start my workday. Riding gives me more energy for the whole day.

What is a challenge of your commute? How have you overcome that challenge?

When I’m riding my bike, I’m carrying a laptop, lunch, and a change of clothes. The challenge is packing it all into the backpack. My bike is a road bike, which I enjoy riding on weekends. It’s not a commuter bike with the attachments for saddle bags. I’ve gotten quite good at packing for my ride.

Tell us a favorite or interesting commute story.

As I mentioned, I’ve gotten to know some of the regulars from the bus. I learned that one of them also likes to ride his bike to work. Periodically, we have met at New Seasons in the morning and ridden in to work together, stopping for coffee along the way in, and catching up. At other times, in the summer, we meet up at a designated spot, and head back to the east side of town together. A couple of times, we have stopped by Dairy Queen along the way. If I hadn’t commuted by bus, I wouldn’t have ever met this person and formed a friendship over the years.

How does your commute help you save time and/or money?

GetThere SW WA shows that based on my log of rides, I have saved $21,463 over time. If I was driving to work, I would have to pay for parking and gas. Also, when I’m riding my bike home, I take slightly different routes. I’ve discovered new businesses and little free libraries. I am also getting a workout, so that means no need to go to the gym or go for a run.

How does your employer help accommodate your commute option?

I learned about the commute option program during on-boarding when I first started my job. My office has a designated bicycle storage room (badged entry is needed), as well as showers. That made a difference in deciding to bike as a commute option.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to use a climate-friendly commute option?

When thinking about options, plan out what gear/equipment you need (bike, app, rain gear, etc.), the route you will take, and your start time to get to your office. And while time can be important from point A to B, think about other ways the commute experience can help you. As I mentioned, it can be energizing, social, and it can give you some time to yourself (to read or decompress).