Bike Share Power User Jill Jerabek on “Experiencing” Albuquerque on Two Wheels

Bike Share Power User Jill Jerabek on “Experiencing” Albuquerque on Two Wheels

by Chris Dragotakes

Chris Dragotakes is the Manager of Rider Services at Zagster. His team makes sure that our products are operated in a manner tailored to the on-the-ground needs of our users. Chris is a former New York City government official and likes memorizing facts about city data like where the best BMX spots are.

Chris Dragotakes (1).jpg

Chris Dragotakes

Manager of Rider Services

Jill Jerabek is one of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s bike share “power users.” She works as a paralegal and bikes to work every weekday. Since June, 2018, Jill has taken over 400 rides, or more than 2 per weekday. In this interview, Jill explains what she loves about micro-mobility, and her reasons go way beyond “just” commuting to work, as you’ll see.

Chris: How do you access a bike for your morning commute?

Jill: I live in downtown Albuquerque, so there's probably four or five bike stations I can easily walk to from my apartment. I’ll bike on the streets up to the University of New Mexico, where it's very safe and bike friendly. From UNM, I catch a bike trail that takes me all the way out to my job. Two thirds of my daily ride is just a long cruise on this very scenic bike trail, where I get to see beautiful panoramas. Then about one third of the way is city riding. It takes me about the same amount of time to get to work by bike or by bus -- either way it’s an hour.

Chris: How did you first discover the joys of micro-mobility?

Jill: I rode a bike growing up as a kid in nearby Santa Fe. And then when I lived in New York City in my 20s, I had friends who really got into biking. My first bike share experience was in lower Manhattan. It was some sort of city-sponsored project, with these really huge, heavy cruiser bikes that were fun.

It’s much easier for me to “find” the time to exercise daily if it just happens to be how I get to work every day. I’ve found biking a fantastic and calming way to start my work day.

It’s strange because I actually took the bike I’d had during high school in New Mexico back to New York City with me on Amtrak, but that bike ended up getting stolen in NYC. So when I returned back to live and work in New Mexico, I didn’t even have my own bike anymore. Fortunately, I noticed these bikes around Albuquerque, and was like, "maybe I’ll use a bike share until I get my own bike.” But now I don't even see the need for my own bike. It would be a small problem to actually have a bike that I'd need to lock up and be responsible for.

Chris: How do you integrate bike sharing into your transportation needs?

Jill: It’s winter right now in Albuquerque, for example, so it’s dark when I get out of work. I don't want to be riding in the dark. In that case, I’ll take the bike to work, and then I can take the bus or an Uber home. The bike share is really crucial to not having to worry about “my” bike and needing to take it home. The bike share offers me a lot of flexibility to sometimes take the bus or an Uber.

Chris: You actually own a car, Jill, so how do you keep from jumping into the car to commute?

Jill: I’ve found that as long as I think of the car as an option -- like, on any given day, I can either drive in or bike in, I'm probably going to end up driving the car. What works for me is to make a categorical decision, a clear intention -- “I bike to work,” period, and that’s a general lifestyle decision I've made. I do use the car for grocery runs on the weekend, but I bike to work.

Chris: What is it about the experience of biking that you might not get by driving?

For me, the best thing about biking is experiential: it gets you in a calmer, zen mindset where you’re connecting to the environment, looking at the landscape around you.

Jill: I’ve done both, and it's such a different experience. With driving, you're trying to get somewhere fast, and it's a very individualistic mindset. The car mentality is go, go, go, get there, and almost anything will frustrate the heck out of me. But with biking, I know it's going to take me about an hour, so I'm more zen, not having that “get there asap” attitude. I’m more present and aware of myself and my surroundings when I’m riding.

Even breathing matters hugely. Exercise literally forces you to breathe in a very calm, regular manner. And then the exercise endorphins kick in. It's much easier for me to “find” the time to exercise daily if it just happens to be how I get to work every day. I've found biking a fantastic and calming way to start my work day.

Chris: What advice do you have for someone considering ride sharing to work?

Jill: If possible, do it with someone who's used the service before. The app is self explanatory, but you might need a few uses to get fully accustomed to it, like so many new things in life. Maybe do your first ride share on a weekend, spend an afternoon downtown shopping, and try it out.

Chris: Any final thoughts?

Jill: For me, the best thing about biking is experiential: it gets you in a calmer, zen mindset where you’re connecting to the environment, looking at the landscape around you. I have an Instagram account that's almost exclusively pictures I've taken while biking. One photo I’ve taken repeatedly is of a spot where the bike trail goes near a huge embankment, and you're actually overlooking this interchange of two big highways. But look to the right and you see the Sandia Mountains, and the sky always looks so different as the bike trail goes into these mountains. If I weren’t on a bike, I’d never be able to see and enjoy this breathtaking and ever-changing New Mexico landscape.

Chris: Thank you for sharing your thoughts and advice with us today, Jill. Wishing you many more zen-rides to and from work in beautiful Albuquerque, New Mexico!