Roxanne Johnson, Age 26
Works: Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys, Program Specialist
What sort of trips do you take by bicycle?
I commute regularly (it's about 18 miles round trip to work), run errands, go out, and then sometimes go for bike adventures (which are usually biking somewhere I've never been, or somewhere I've never biked before).
How often do you bike?
Often! I was on my bike daily until I ran into some health problems (one from biking, one from being klutzy and then I got a bad cough). I have been taking the bus a lot lately. But usually, whenever I go anywhere the bike goes too.
How long have you been riding your bike?
I have been biking all over with my dad (also a Minneapolis bike commuter, my folks live by Lake Nokomis) since I was little, and initiating bike adventures since my parents let me off the block. I started commuting in 2000 for a summer job (I rode a Diamondback Outlook mountain bike almost 17 miles a day, to and from Edina), and have been commuting regularly for about four years in Minneapolis and St. Paul. I love that there are more trails and bike lanes than ever before right now!
What keeps you pedaling?
I don't have a car, and I dislike spending $1.50-$2 on the bus. But I will if I have to, or if it's really windy. The bike-on-the-bus option gives me a lot of freedom - it takes me three buses to get to work but I sometimes bike, bus, and bike. Also, biking is fun (for the most part)! I like not being stuck in traffic, and being outside. I love seeing other people I know on bikes and waving to them. I also love knowing that I can go so many places on just my bike, but that if I can't get home I can take a bus.
What kind of bike do you ride?
I ride a Surly Cross-Check that I just got this summer (it's black, white and pink), and I have a Specialized Crossroads that has become my winter and guest bike.
Where is your favorite place to ride?
I like any street with a bike lane, and I like to race buses down University Avenue.
How do you stay safe when you ride?
I wear my helmet, I have front and rear lights and try to wear bright colored clothing at night, and I try to ride predictably and follow the law. I also try to pay attention to my surroundings.
Do you have a shining moment with a motorist, or something you really appreciate from motorists?
I work in downtown St. Paul and leave work during rush hour. I get honked at, yelled at, and almost hit fairly regularly. But a lot of folks in my neighborhood ride bikes, so when I get near my house people are more polite and usually don't seem to be in such a hurry. They smile and wave at me, which is great at the end of my day. More generally, I really appreciate when I can make eye contact with a driver; that way we both know the other is there and an accident is less likely. We all have inattentive times on the road, and so it's nice when you know someone sees you. In my neighborhood, people are on the look-out for bikes and that helps immensely.
What are your pet peeves, either from motorists or other cyclists?
I don't like when people are just mean; I get drivers that yell "Get off the road!" sometimes or I see people on bikes get aggressive or yell at drivers. The streets are for bikes and cars, and we both need to act like it.
What is the most unusual thing you do on your bike?
I like to cross-country ski, so I strap my skis under my seat and along my top tube (my skis stick out over my handlebars) and bike to places to ski, like Hiawatha Golf Course. I get some odd looks from drivers, but I usually get the thumbs-up from bikers.
Last updated Oct. 21, 2011