By Ashley Patterson
Jane Paine’s job involves encouraging people to conserve energy. As a Senior Engineer for ETC Group, an energy efficiency consulting firm in Sugarhouse, Jane wants all of us to incorporate energy efficiency into our daily lives. In order to practice what she preaches, she rides her bike to work nearly daily year round.
Also, like many people, Jane’s life is busy and she rides her bike to work in order to sneak some exercise in during the week. Her commute is about six miles each way from her house in Holladay to her Sugarhouse office. She loves getting in a little bit of exercise before sitting in front of a computer all day. When asked why she rides, Jane responds, “I get to see the morning stars. I guess other people in cars do, too, but I like to think my view is better. I’m relaxed on my bike and feel less rushed and less anxious.”
Jane is grateful to Salt Lake City for the increase in bike lanes over the past few years. She feels very safe on her bike in most areas around the city due to the large number of cyclists in the area and the increased focus on bikes over the past decade or so. With all of the bike lanes and shared lane markings, more people are riding and that raises the awareness of drivers but she’s concerned about people riding on sidewalks. “I ride on the road and act like a car. I stop at red lights and stop signs. I claim my ground but I try to be very accommodating to cars. I have had very few altercations and find drivers to be quite friendly.”
Pedaling downtown to meetings is common and she feels just fine about riding in a suit. “I wear heeled shoes, Danskos, any required outfit and I look fine when I arrive at my destination. People get deterred by things that just aren’t a problem.”
Her steed of choice for commuting is a twenty year old mountain bike with a basket on the back that can fit her Jack Russell terrier, Rally, a briefcase and a roll of building drawings. “When I decided to start commuting by bicycle about ten years ago, I put a rack on the back of my old bike and wanted a nice, sturdy wire basket to mount on it. I asked my parents if they had anything like that and my dad gave me the one he used to carry me around in on his bike!” She’s carried bags of potting soil and regularly puts the weekly groceries inside it.
About three times per week, Jane hits the gym on Foothill Blvd and is always amazed that more people don’t ride their bikes to the gym. “When I first started doing it, I really envisioned I could lead by example. I mean, how sensible can you be to ride to the gym, get a little warm up before you really exercise, complete your work out, shower and go to work. It just makes so much sense so why don’t more people do it?” Several years have gone by since she started working out at that gym and the only people she’s seen unlock bikes from her rack have been one elderly couple who came one time to test out the facility.
Jane’s favorite commuting activity is what her husband Scott refers to as a Bike-A-Date. About once a week, both Jane and Scott will ride to work and meet at a restaurant downtown for dinner and pedal home with their lights after fueling up with delicious morsels from local favorites such as Em’s, Tin Angel or Sage’s Café. Sometimes they stop for gelato at 9th and 9th on the way home. If a Bike-A-Date starts at home, they make a margarita for their water bottle to tide them over while they pedal to a party, a restaurant or a concert. They love the bike valet at Red Butte and can put a cooler of goodies in Jane’s rear basket for their concert picnic.
Next time you see a bike zooming down the road with a little dog poking his head out of a rear basket between Holladay and downtown, chances are it’s Jane. If you are lucky, it’s a Bike-A-Date night and she’s got a little extra margarita in her water bottle to share.
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