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Saturday, April 8, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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The Reader's View

Pedaling to work works

Special to The Times

Today, commuting by bicycle

I am 35 years old, the mother of two children and a working professional. I am a bike commuter. I have been at least a part-time bicycle commuter my entire career. My commutes have ranged from 5 to 18 miles one direction. I currently do not live in the same community in which I work, however I bicycle two to three days per week.

In 13 years of bike commuting I have taken advantage of many of the Seattle area's bike routes. Navigating without these key routes would have been almost impossible.

Businesses eager to comply with the commute trip reduction laws have in many cases installed shower and locker-room facilities, as well as secure bike parking. All of the cyclists I know, male or female, wear bike clothes during their commute and shower/change once arriving at work. Those folks who do not have showers in their offices often join a nearby fitness club for this service.

The time investment for bike commuting compares favorably to driving alone to work and stopping by the gym for a half-hour workout and shower. The difference? The bike commuter has no gym fees, purchased no gasoline and reduced road congestion and pollution by one car. Bike commuting and van-pooling has allowed our family to avoid purchasing a second automobile, a major cost savings. And, perhaps not coincidentally, I weigh the same as I did at age 21.

Bike to Work Day is coming up May 19. I'll be volunteering at the bicycle station located on the west side of the Fremont Bridge. I invite Martha Parker [Northwest Voices, March 31] to meet me there at 7:30 a.m. and behold the number of commuters, male and female, of all ages and occupations, taking advantage of the regional bike-lane infrastructure to get to work under their own steam. I'll even treat her to a cup of coffee and give her a peek at the high heels, pearls and lipstick neatly tucked away in my bike pannier.

Sarah Phillips lives in Seattle.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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