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Shelley Has Pedal Power!
To get to our headquarters in Vancouver some people drive, many take transit, and then there are the bike commuters. We're not located in central Vancouver; it can be quite a trek to get to work for some. Luckily our office is on a major bike route and our bike racks are often full. A great form of transportation and exercise, biking to work is also great for the environment. But we also live in Vancouver and it RAINS many months of the year. Biking to work is a commitment.
Shelley MacEachern bikes to work year round, in all weather conditions and helps to organize our Bike to Work Week initiatives at LUSH. October 29 - November 2 was the latest BTWW and not only was she getting everyone riding (in the pouring rain), but she was also volunteering at the city-wide commuter stations.
How long have you been biking for?
I have been riding a bike steadily for about 7 years. I started riding again about 8 or 9 years ago, I was working at a coffee shop and had to be in Kits by 6am. After several sketchy incidents that occurred on Commercial Dr while walking to the bus stop in the wee dark hours of the morning I decided to borrow a friends bike and ride to work. Save money, save my skin, and get some much needed exercise! After I left there I took a year off riding and then started again when I came to work at LUSH. I rode a borrowed bike for a while and then bought a crumby old bike at the auction. I told myself if I rode that bike for a year I could buy myself a shiny new bike with the money I saved from taking transit! And I did. I call it “Bikey”, I know, not very original but…
I have been riding the 10k to and from work ever since. And I swear that hill going up Ontario St never seems to get easier! But it’s totally worth it, you just feel so much more alive and awake when you get to work, and hungry. Smelling all those delicious breakfast smells, bacon and eggs, waffles and syrup, oatmeal, mmmmm. And you don’t even feel like you “worked out” because you’re still half asleep while you’re doing it. Like all exercise, sometimes you don’t want to do it but you always feel better after you do, especially after a frustrating day a work, instead of bringing that negativity home with you, you just pedal it off, so by the time you get home you are all decompressed and can’t even remember what it was that had you all riled up!
What are the other benefits to commuting to work on a bike?
Biking to work saves you loads of money, all that car insurance, gas, maintenance, or transit fares, most brand new moderately priced bikes will pay for themselves in a year of 1 zone transit passes. And probably 4-5 months if you swap your car in! That’s a lot of cash that I rather spend on a nice biking vacation somewhere warm and dry, or anther bike, I now have 2, one for the Vancouver rain and one for racing in the summer. There are also no wait times when you bike, no missing bus connections and standing in the cold rain at the mercy of the next packed bus, no dreading the gas price hikes. A couple of bananas and you’re all fuelled up. Don’t get me wrong, transit and cars have their place, I just don’t think it’s to and from work. I know people that commute from all over the lower mainland, Surrey, Delta, Maple Ridge, Burnaby, etc etc. The farther away you live the better shape you’ll be in.
That’s the other great thing about biking to and from work, you don’t have to feel guilty about not going for a run or to the gym after work (I still do though). For most people this is way more exercise than they normally get. Say what? You mean I don’t have to go work out if I ride to and from work? Well, maybe not as many times a week!
Where else has pedal power taken you?
I have been privileged to have experienced some amazing rides in some incredible locations, Vancouver of course, along the lakeshore in Toronto, down to Seattle, around Oahu, and all through France. The longest ride I have ever done was a century ride, 100 miles or 165 kms. That was a long day. The most beautiful and painful ride I ever did was 130km around Oahu the day after a triathlon with no padded bike shorts, ouch! My favorite rides were around France, sunflower and lavender fields, turquoise green gorges, ancient stone cave mansions, ancient stone everything! Who am I kidding, I did it for the cheese, baguettes, croissants, and wine, shameless I know, but sooooooo worth it.
Are there any LUSH products that you can't live without on your rides?
My favourite LUSH product that literally saved my butt was Grease Lightning, I won’t give you the details, but it works amazingly! My second favorite are shampoo bars because they have no packaging and can do it all, wash your hair, body, and clothes. And there is absolutely nothing like climbing into a hot tub full of bubbles after a cold, raining Vancouver day, and lucky for us, we get a lot of them.
How does biking relate to the LUSH Life?
I think biking relates to the LUSH Life in that you are reducing your impact on the environment and trying to be healthier and happier and closer to nature, you can smell the leaves and the flowers and the rain. Also I think most cyclists believe that we have the right to look foolish, wipe out, get up, dust ourselves off (hopefully) and get back on and start again.