Commuter Spotlight: Derrick Fogle

SONY DSCAs a kid it began as freedom.  “I could go faster and farther than I ever could on two feet.” However, by the time Derrick Fogle reached his teenage years it became more than just freedom. He became more aware of the environmental and health benefits to cycling and, even more, saw it as self-preservation.  “I didn’t go fast enough for the cops to notice me like when I drove.”

A few accidents and tickets later, Fogle realized he needed to make a more conscious effort of where he lived and worked so he could stay out of the metal box and on two wheels.  “I ride the trail to and from work every day. It’s not the shortest route but it’s the most peaceful,” says Fogle.

Even when he moved to Columbia 20 years ago, he was impressed by the bicycle-friendly environment but believes infrastructure could always be improved. “The trail is an issue every time we get a heavy rain. There are washouts and some parts of the trail become unusable for a while.”

To further improve the cycling environment he believes there needs to be a better understanding of how cyclists and motorists should interact. “Cyclists and drivers are using the same roads to get to the same places for the same reasons,” says Fogle, “there needs to be more consistency, more predictability with cyclists and drivers.” He explains how every cyclist, just like every driver has their own way of dealing with traffic and people can get confused. “No one likes surprises when driving; it’s scary and leads to tension and upset people.”

From someone who has racked up over a quarter million miles and rode in all weather conditions you’d think he would be full of helpful tips for novice riders. “People always assume that I have great advice on dealing with the challenges of cycling, such as fear of traffic and dealing with weather, but I figured it out at such a young age, I don’t really know anymore.” Even so, he offered the advice to keep it simple. “Once you get over that first hump you realize it’s not that difficult. You can do it if you learn how to integrate it into your lifestyle.”

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