Berkeley Lab

Postdoc Bikes to Work for Convenience and Exercise

Your favorite parking spot might be one of the more than 300 spaces slated for removal when groundbreaking for the Integrative Genomics Building begins this August. If you’ve been wanting to squeeze a workout into your daily commute, this may be a great time to see if biking to work — even if it’s just once a week — is right for you.

In this second installment of the Commuter Chronicles, Antoine Wojdyla, a postdoc in the Materials Sciences Division and a member of the Vehicle Access and Alternative Transportation Advisory Group, talks about how he manages to combine his love for biking with his daily commute to the Lab.

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When and why did you start riding your bike to the Lab?

I had just moved here from Paris about three years ago, and I didn’t have a car for the first two years. I bought my first bike shortly after I arrived in Berkeley. I’ve inherited a few more bikes from friends who left the Lab, so now I have four bikes. I often lend my extra bikes to people who are new to Berkeley and need an easy way to get around. My favorite bike to ride to work when I’m using the shuttle is a Dutch bike. For days when I ride all the way up Cyclotron Road, I use my road bike.

How often do you commute by bike? What do you bring with you when you ride your bike to work?

I commute by bike about four days a week. I’ll drive if it’s raining or if I need to carpool with friends to go climbing in San Francisco after work.

If I’m riding up the hill with my road bike, I bring extra clothes for work. I carry my computer and clothes in a backpack.

What benefits are there to riding your bike to work?

It’s a good 10-minute workout. I feel less agile if I don’t ride my bike for a while. Riding a bike is also very convenient. Even though you are not in a car, you have mobility with a bike. The Lab is on top of a hill, but the rest of Berkeley is actually pretty accessible by bike because most of it is very flat. I also love riding down Cyclotron Road. At sunset, it feels like I’m surfing!

What advice do you have for someone who is interested in biking to work but is afraid of getting hit by a car?

It’s important to have lights so drivers can see you. Someone hit me on my bike from behind at night when I first moved to Berkeley because I didn’t have lights, and that was a silly mistake. It’s also important to know which routes are the most bike-friendly, so find a friend or a “bike buddy” to show you which routes are the safest to take from your home to work, and which precautions to take while commuting by bike.

— By Theresa Duque

For more information about bike commuting, see commute.lbl.gov/resources or bikes.lbl.gov.

Staff can provide input via commute.lbl.gov.