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Commuting On My eBike Is Like
The Icing On A Cake

JULY 6, 2021

”Biking is such a good thing to get mentally ready for work and to decompress after. To have a minute to yourself and enjoy.”   

-Shirley Leydsman

Shirley Leydsman is an experienced mountain bike, road, and gravel rider. Last year, she got an e-bike and started commuting to work. We asked her to share a bit of her experience and some advice for those of us who might want to try bike commuting. 

Shirley Leydsman

Shirley Leydsman, Visual Merchandiser at Red Rock Bicycle Co.

“I think I got my e-bike in August 2020, maybe July. I didn’t realize how much fun it would be and how much I would love it. I kind of just bought the bike because you guys riding your bikes to work were an inspiration. I remember a picture Lukas posted of all the bikes out there in the employee racks thinking, that’s so inspiring, I want to do this. And so I started riding it to my hairdresser, and to my daughter’s house in Bloomington, and I just fell in love. There’s a bike path that goes all the way to Bloomington. The ride takes about half an hour and it’s perfect.

Sometimes I feel like I am faster on my bike than in my car. It is definitely faster to get to my hairdresser on my bike than it is in my car. Sometimes there are cars backed up for miles while I am getting to just ride in the bike lane. And biking is such a good thing to get mentally ready for work and to decompress after. To have a minute to yourself and enjoy.  

I ride road, gravel, and mountain. So the commute on the e-bike is my treat, and I love it.” 

Shirley's Specialized Vado

“I love that I can hop on in my jeans and heels and still ride my bike. I am not clipped in, I just go.” 

I know you ride a Specialized Vado. What specifically do you like about it?  

I like that it has a rack, panniers, and fenders. And I love that I can hop on in my jeans and heels and still ride my bike. I am not clipped in, I just go. I love that I can wear regular clothes. On my other bikes I feel like I need to get dressed down. Get into biking gear. On my road bike, I’m not going to wear my jeans and high heels.  


What factors do you consider when you plan your routes? I am sure you draw on your knowledge as a road rider? 

Yes. I like it when there is a shoulder. I love it when there are bike lanes. And I love the bike paths. I think we have so many great bike paths in this town, so, yeah, those are the kind of things I consider when I am looking for a route. Where can I find a bike path, or a bike lane, and then I go from there.  

 “I think getting started is really about finding good, safe routes and connecting the dots. So that’s why I feel like, the more bike lanes we get, the more awareness the bikers, the more people that commute, the more knowledge that is out there for riders and drivers … that helps to overcome that barrier.”

Shirley's Ride Map

Shirley’s Ride To Work: Foremaster Drive to Red Rock Bicycle  

Link: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/course/66366201

When you started commuting last year, were there any obstacles you encountered, anything that was tricky for you?  

Well for me, I live at a busy part of town. I live on Foremaster Drive, that’s right by the hospital. No matter where I go, I have to go by the hospital. But just talking to people and just kind of checking out the route, I found a way that is super easy and most of it is on bike paths. So that was kind of the obstacle for me: figuring out how to get past that busy section and be safe. Now I just go down Foremaster, cross the street by Harmons, go up the street and through the tunnel by the college, go through campus, and then I am on the bike lane. I feel safe the whole time. 

Sometimes there are places where there is no bike lane or bike path. Road riding is my first discipline, so I am used to riding with the cars, but it is still an obstacle when there is hardly a shoulder, and you’re trying to commute, and you’re like, ok, I guess I am going on the sidewalk now, but sometimes there is no sidewalk. And then I usually look for a different route next time.  

SHirley Mountain Biking

“I feel like bike commuting is a two for one, because it is just such a great mental and life changing experience. And financially it’s a bonus, too.” 

Is there anything else you worried about in retrospect before you got started? Talking practically, with folks in mind who might want to try commuting by bicycle?  

I think getting started is really about finding good, safe routes and connecting the dots. So that’s why I feel like, the more bike lanes we get, the more awareness the bikers, the more people that commute, the more knowledge that is out there for riders and drivers … that helps to overcome that barrier.  

I know the cost of a bike is sometimes an obstacle for people, but I think that there are ways around that, too. There’s the Collective, you know, used bikes. So there are definitely ways, if that is something that someone really wants to do. And bikes are way cheaper than a car, and gas, and insurance. I feel like it is a two for one, because it is just such a great mental and life changing experience. And financially it’s a bonus, too. I’ve been like OMG look at all the miles on my bike that are not on the car, and I get so excited. Yeah. So I think it’s good. I hope to see more and more folks commuting. That’s great.  

“To be able to say, I just rode my bike to work and from, there is a cool vibe with that, and definitely a cool sense of accomplishment. Especially, because I do bike so much, this is kind of the icing on the cake, or the fun. It’s like a treat. I get to ride my bike to work, you know. It just makes me smile. I just feel like a kid again.” 

I am curious what kind of other advice you would give to folks who are seeing this? What would you tell them?  

Just do it! Try it, you’ll love it! Yeah, I think my advice would be, get the right gear, once you have the gear you’re set up for success, and then just find your route and go for it. And .. feel the joy of riding your bike to work and from!  

There is definitely a sense of accomplishment every time you do a ride, or a race, or whatever, but to be able to say, I just rode my bike to work and from, there is a cool vibe with that, and definitely a cool sense of accomplishment. Especially, because I do bike so much, this is kind of the icing on the cake, or the fun. It’s like a treat. I get to ride my bike to work, you know. It just makes me smile. I just feel like a kid again.  

Thank you, Shirley!  

Find your eBike at Red Rock Bicycle Co.

Interview by Judith Rognli