Andrea Miller, COTTONWOOD de TUCSON
How did you get started using an alternate mode?
I really love being active. So for me, it’s far more enjoyable to walk or ride my bike somewhere than it is to drive and be stuck in traffic. This is lucky for me because my ’94 Oldsmobile died last year in the middle of nursing school. So my boyfriend and I were challenged with finding alternative ways to get to the places we needed to go until we could get a second vehicle.
How far do you commute and how often?
When I go to Cottonwood, it’s about an 8.8-mile, one-way trip. It takes about an hour to bus and bike, 50 minutes to bike, and two hours to bus and walk.
What do you like about your commute? And what don’t you like? Any concerns?
I found the time I was walking, biking or bus riding to be a great time to collect my thoughts and really be present in the moment. I found that I was much more vigilant about how I spent my time because I couldn’t just jump in the car and pop over somewhere. I had to be mindful of where I was and how I was going to get to the next place. Plus, I really hate sitting in traffic, so being able to move and explore new routes and neighborhoods is something I would have never done if I was in the car. At the end of my bus ride, I travel farther by foot or bike to get to work. This last part of my commute is challenging, because Silverbell is not good for walkers or bikers. It’s always a challenge for me to make sure that I have and can carry everything I need for the day when I’m biking or bus riding. There were some days that I went to both school and Cottonwood, so making sure I had all my books and the proper clothes was challenging.
Have you had any measurable positive results such as money saved, time savings, stress reduction, new friends, etc.
Yes, being able to cancel the auto insurance and save on gas has been a big savings. Plus, I feel better when I am able to bike or walk more in the day. Movement is medicine.
Any recommendations on how to get started using an alternate mode?
Start with shorter trips where you don’t need to carry so much. Check out the Sun Tran Ride Guide or a bike map of Tucson and see what trips can fit your daily lifestyle. Try doing a test ride first before you have to be at a destination or work at a certain time so you know what to expect. Always carry a back up tube. Tucson is a prickly place. Bring plenty of water and give yourself more time in the summer because you will need time to cool down.