Amara Lauren and bikeEditor’s note: Freelance writer Scott Lunt spends his cycling time piecing together impromptu loop rides and running occasional errands. Soaking in the Tucson sun since 1994, he can be found two-wheeling around town on his Bacchetta Giro 20 recumbent.

Before going to Costa Rica for a year, Amara Lauren gave her car to her sister. When Lauren returned, she considered buying another one but realized she didn’t need it any more.

Instead she upgraded her bike and began commuting 18 miles a day to her new job as a middle-school teacher in Tucson.

So why does she like bike commuting?

“It makes sense economically, environmentally and socially,” she said, noting how she likes the biking culture and the exercise benefits.

“Before when I had a car, I would drive to work and come back and then feel like I had to go to the gym. Now I get like an hour and twenty minutes of biking in each day I go to work,” Lauren said.

Lauren’s ride is a Surly Cross-Check. A pair of Ortlieb panniers completes her commuter setup and helps with running errands as well. “I can load those things with tons of groceries,” she said.

Because she gets so much riding in during the week, she likes to spend her free time rock climbing. She’s also planning to do some bike touring during her summer break.

As far as cycling in Tucson, she feels that the city is getting more commuter-friendly with better bike lanes and more bike-friendly roads. She would like to see more appreciation and understanding from drivers, as well as more people bike commuting.

“Two years ago I don’t think I would have ever imagined that I could bike 20 miles a day and make it to work on time,” she said. “But it’s really not that big of a deal.” Lauren points out that driving to work only saves her about 15 minutes.

“When you add that up that’s not a big deal, especially when you consider that you’re getting exercise. It’s really doable.”

6 thoughts on “Rider of the Week: Teacher Commuter”
  1. I can’t ride the whole way to work, because my commute is so long. Instead, I keep a folding bike in my trunk, and drive partway and ride the rest. Most days, riding the bike, especially once I get into the city, actually saves me time.

  2. That’s great. I tell people who live a really long way away or who are just getting started again and feel like even a few miles is too much. 

  3. These commuter pieces are really great!  We need to get 2 Wheelin in Tucson on KVOA to start doing these.  That could really get the word out, increase the number of commuters and help propel Tucson towards platinum status.

  4. Way to go, Alex! Cleverly integrating bikes with cars (as you are doing) and with bikey mass transpo infrastructure such as it is in the Old Pueblo can’t hurt and pays many subtle benefits! Hang in there.

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