Commuter: Rina Fa’amoe, Team Captain
Employer/Commute Challenge Team: Seattle Public Schools’ Green Team Re-Cyclers
Last year, Rina Fa’amoe set a goal for herself. She was going to bike to work at least three times a week for a year. She was receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer and inspired to better her health, she signed up for a Commute Challenge team.
“I agreed to be on a team but I didn’t even have a bike!” she said. “When I agreed to do the Commute Challenge, I said yes without knowing what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know anything about my stamina, route finding or anything. It was really challenging.”
But her boyfriend lent her his bike and neighbors watched out for her, showing her bike-friendly routes and short cuts.
“It was hard but I kept on doing it,” Rina said. After Bike Month was over, Rina braved the wet and cold fall and winter weather to continue the biking habit.
Now that it’s spring again, Rina considers herself a full-time bike commuter. Her 10-mile multimodal commute (bike-ferry-bike) takes her from Bainbridge Island to the Seattle Public Schools headquarters in SODO, where she works as a Resource Conservation Specialist.
“I feel very grateful that I have options – roads that aren’t too busy,” said Rina. “I have a very safe route.”
For this year’s Bike Month, Rina stepped up to be the captain of the Green Team Re-Cyclers, focusing especially on new commuters.
“I wanted it to be focused on people who had never commuted before. Also, I used it as a way to reach out to people I hadn’t reached before,” she said.
Ahead of Bike Month, Rina hosted a brown bag and fix-a-flat clinic for her colleagues.
“We came together in April to talk about safety, gear and routes. I wanted to give people a chance to bring up concerns before the start of Bike Month,” she explained.
And now, in the final stretch of Bike Month, Rina says things are going well.
“The Commute Challenge is going really well. We have four teams this year [at Seattle Public Schools] and we’ve been hosting potlucks every Tuesday,” she said. “It has really expanded and we are excited that people are biking.”
Rina hopes that like her a year ago, the new Commute Challenge participants will turn into full-time bicycle commuters.
“I wouldn’t go back [to not biking]. I very much prefer commuting by bike,” she said. “It’s flexible and faster in all ways and it’s my exercise!”
Know a Commute Challenge participant who deserves some special recognition? Nominate them for Rider of the Week! Send your ideas to Anne-Marije Rook at email@example.com.