Matt Warburton is the Manager, Design at Brand and Marketing. A long time cyclist, he recommends getting properly fitted for your bike.
1. How did you get into biking to work?
I’ve always been a cyclist (and motorcyclist) so when I started at UBC in 2012 I figured, why would I pay for parking? It takes me almost 45 minutes to take transit and then walk across campus to Cecil Green Coach House, whereas I can ride the same distance in 12 minutes door to door. When I worked in Gastown back in the 1990s I always bicycle commuted from West Kits, and even when I worked in Toronto in the 80s I bicycle commuted to Yorkville from The Beaches (the humidity in Toronto is brutal compared to what we get here in Vancouver!).
2. What’s the most important tip you would you give to someone who is new to bike commuting?
The most important thing I would say is make sure your bike fits you properly and that it is properly tuned and has the tires inflated to at least 60psi. You don’t need an expensive bike, but you do need one that fits you properly. Most bike shops will be able to adjust your fit (ie. a longer or shorter stem for your handlebar can make a huge difference to your comfort if you have back issues). Given our weather its a smart investment (relative to the cost of gas, parking and insurance) to buy really good/expensive rain gear (Gore-tex jacket, vented gloves, rain overpants and booties, and a waterproof Ortleib backpack or saddlebags). Don’t cheap out on your riding gear. A good Goretex rain jacket will be breathable and serve as a top layer over a fleece in even the coldest winter weather. Same with booties, even if it’s not raining they keep the wind off your feet and the warmth in. Being comfortable makes a huge difference to your attitude when you wake up for work and it’s dark and raining out! Bright lights (front and rear) is also key as being seen is as important as being able to see. There’s incredible compact 1000 lumen headlights available for around $100 that charge through the USB port on your computer.
3. What fuels you to bike?
The cost savings is a definite factor but also the fitness component. My ride to work is only 5.5km, but I always do a longer route home, either 15km or 30km depending on timing. Having that longer ride home at night helps me clear my mind and work through possible design solutions in my head. The fact I’m not contributing gas emissions to the atmosphere is an added bonus as well!
4. Multiple Choice: Which one of these is the most challenging for you? A) the hill B) the rain C) the sweat or D) the distance? E) other____
Flat tires and all the dirt and crap on Marine Drive! We work in a construction zone here at UBC so the amount of stuff on the side of the road in the bike lane, especially along SW Marine in the winter takes a huge toll on my bike’s drivetrain!