A good article altogether. I especially liked the explanation of taking the lane! I think this is the first time I've ever seen the Dispatch accurately explain this.
It's nice to see the Dispatch showing all the positives of riding with none of the perceived negatives along with it.
A HAND FROM COTA
Outspoken cyclist likes fighting tide
Thursday, March 6, 2008 3:36 AM
By Dean Narciso
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Bicycle commuters know few greater joys than smooth pavement, clear skies and a balmy spring morning. Jennifer Jasmin is looking forward to them.
Until then, she'll battle ice, slush and disbelieving motorists on her daily ride to work.
She bought her bicycle, a Giant Cypress, in August. It's strong and heavy. It's adorned with reflectors, decorations and political statements, some of which can't be printed in a family newspaper.
Her hat says, "Life is Good." Hers is a life -- or at least a commute -- against the grain.
While other commuters manage their groggy morning drive, she's heading home on two wheels -- with an assist from a bus on nasty days.
It's relatively easy to make it to her job in Worthington from her home in Olde Towne East by 11 p.m., when fewer cars are on the road.
But the morning rush-hour ride home poses hazards.
"People think we're slow, we get in their way," she says of sometimes-testy drivers.
Riding in the center of the roadway, known as "taking a lane," is safer than cowering near the curb, she said, but it can annoy drivers behind her.
"They think I'm being cocky, but I'm trying to be safe and protect myself.
"People at work think I'm crazy. This is probably as close as I come to being a rebel."
She tests animal feces for viruses, worms and parasites at IDEXX on Wilson Bridge Road.
Helping save pets is important. She wants the rest of her life to be the same.
"I don't own a car, don't do insurance and don't pay for gas," she said, decrying traffic, wastefulness and pollution.
She's lost 40 pounds in six months of riding and lowered triglyceride levels by 150 points. "It's been awesome for my health."
"For a lot of reasons she's continued. We have so much admiration for her to step up and hop on the bike," said Liz Readout, IDEXX lab manager. "She doesn't rely on anybody to help her."
Nobody but COTA, anyway.
Buses have become one ally in battling the elements. On a typical winter morning commute home, she maneuvers carefully along Wilson Bridge and up High Street, where she waits for the bus, splashed by passing motorists.
She sets her bike on the rack on the front of the bus, pays her fare, sheds layers of thermal clothing and settles in. Once Downtown, she bundles up and rides to her home in Olde Towne East.
She's an example of what COTA envisioned when it installed the racks a few years ago: someone who wants to ride to work, but not necessarily all the way.
And on those blizzardlike days, when just waking up seems tough?
"You don't think about it," she said. "You just dress smart and go."
People, not speed.