Business Center

Commuter Highlight: Biking to Work with Jamie Shapiro

By: Sydney Lund, Transportation Demand Management Intern

August 15, 2019

Here at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), we are working to enhance the quality of life and the environment of the citizens of Colorado by creating an integrated transportation system that focuses on safely moving people and goods by offering convenient linkages among modal choices. Many CDOT employees are serving as role models for their commitment to commuting to work by walking, biking, taking transit, or carpooling.

This week’s commuter highlight is Jamie Shapiro!

Jamie Shapiro is an Assistant Historian for the Region 1 Planning and Environmental team. Jamie is an active bicyclist and rides his bike to work every day, even in the snow! Read below for an interview with Jamie where he talks about his commute and some tips on how to bike in Denver.

How do you commute to work?

I ride my bike to work. I live about two and a half miles away from the HQ/R1 building in Denver. Biking is much faster than taking transit. Driving takes me about 10 or 12 minutes, biking takes about 20 to 25 minutes, and then transit takes about 30 to 40 minutes.

Do you ever drive into work?

I do occasionally. I would say about once every two weeks if I have errands to do after work. My family is up in Boulder, so if I go visit them straight after work I will take the car. I would like to sell my car and just share a car with my fiancée, but I have not bit the bullet and done it.

Why do you commute to work by bike?

I think there are a couple of reasons. The biggest one is just my own happiness. I really look forward to the bike ride in the morning and then in the afternoon. It is a nice way to decompress. The environment is another big one and car emissions. In the Denver area, we have a lot of traffic and there is a lot of vehicle miles traveled. Health would be the third one and generally staying in shape. Biking is a more efficient way to get in a little workout everyday.

I also think that driving alone in a car is a very inefficient mode of transportation to me, both economically and environmentally. I just watch all of the cars with one person and think it is 3,000 pounds of metal moving one person. It is just ridiculous when you think about it.

How do you bike in the snow?

The snow in Denver is really not that bad. It will generally snow and then in a day or two, it will melt, so the snow does not accumulate. Sometimes the roads are icy and that is more of a problem than the snow, but I have not found it to be a problem. There are only a couple of weeks a year where it is too snowy to bike, so sometimes I will bus or try and wait it out if it is raining.

What tips would you give to other staff regarding commuting to work by bike?

I would say once you have a routine and you are used to it, it gets a lot easier. Especially with biking, it can be intimidating. For example, if you have a flat tire and you have not fixed it, and you sort of put it off, that could be a barrier. Another would be if you are not used to carrying everything that you need for work. I have a little pouch on my bike that has an extra tube just in case I get a flat. It is really helpful that CDOT has bike pumps in the bike storage room, too.

What are some obstacles that you face when commuting to work by bike and how have you overcome those obstacles?

Weather is one of the obstacles. I think bringing a jacket is good idea throughout the year, in case the weather changes. Another would be being a little bit flexible, such as staying a half an hour late if necessary because the weather often changes quickly here.

Another obstacle is not being afraid to put your bike on the bike racks on the front of the bus. This option works well if the weather is too harsh to bike on the way home from work. I feel that biking and bussing could be a good method for a lot of people at CDOT, such as biking to the transit station and taking that to work.

Interested in learning how to take your bike on transit? Click here to watch a short video explaining how to put your bike on the bus rack and how to take your bike on the light rail.

On the weekends, how do you get around?

I try and bike everywhere in Denver, especially downtown or to friends who live not too far away. Biking generally makes my life better and I think it is more fun. I do drive, like a lot of Coloradans, to the mountains, up to Boulder, or if I am going out of town.

If you could be any mode of transportation, what would you be?

I would be a bike. I think the bicycle is the peak of transportation infrastructure. I also wouldn’t mind being an electric bike.

Interested in commuting to work by bike? Check out these resources designed to help you commute by bike to work.

Check out our past commuter highlight interviews here.

Do you commute to work by means other than driving alone? If so, we would like to highlight you! Send an email to Sydney Lund to be highlighted as a part of our commuter highlights series.