True confessions of a bike commuter: Francesca Bourgault

It’s time again for another bike commuter…. today features the lovely Francesca Bourgault, the cheeriest lighting designer I ever did meet:

Francesca Bourgault is a lighting designer, technical director, dance teacher and crafter that bops around town constantly. The only regular parts of her schedule are the 4 tot dance classes I teach each week at Chase Park for Design Dance. In the evenings she design for enough dance companies that she’s always somewhere different and always trying to remember how to get there. When gear needs to be shuttled or the commute is too far, she drives, but only then does she leave her funked up bike locked at home.

Where do you live? The southeast corner of Ravenswood [a North-side Chicago neighborhood]

How long is your commute? Depending on the gig, it can be anywhere from a mile to 8 each way. If I get called to Oak Park, however, I typically choose to drive since it’s super far and usually a late night rehearsal or tech crew call.

from Red Dress Run on the 4th of July 2009. Francesca uses her bike for exercise and dressing up in addition to commuting.

What kind of bike do you ride?  Ha! My poor bike was probably stolen before it got to me. On Craig’s List it was labeled Arctic in color, purple and white. It’s had a lot of adjustments including a trade from Ram’s horn to straight handlebars and from green brake and gear lines to silver. I think it can be considered a hybrid but who knows anymore.

Do you wear work clothes on your bike, or wear bike clothes and change at work? Almost always I will bike in work clothes. The only exception is if I want to wear cute shoes for a show; then it’s all about the sneakers or boots for the commute.

How do you carry your stuff? Paniers? Messenger bag? Milk Crate? My partner donated a sweet, white basket to my cause that goes on my handlebars. I also have a rack on the back with bungee netting that holds the leftovers. Sometimes I even add my backpack but mostly I find a way to leave something at home if it seems like that may be necessary.

Fair-weather rider? The only things I won’t ride through are the slushy stuff on the side of the road and ice. I hate ice and have fallen on it too many times. My tires are not good for that sort of thing and I don’t trust my unbalanced bike.

Scariest moment on the bike: I don’t usually run into any funny business but recently, in Wrigleyville, of course, I got slowly cut off by a cab. Slowly meaning that he almost wasn’t past me when he started veering into the bike lane then off the road. He got a swift smack to the window for that one. No turn signal or anything. Sheesh! I must say that I’m pretty lucky for not having been doored ever or gotten thrown off by any humungous pot holes.

Tips for new riders: Make yourself do it. It’s easy to get into the habit of taking the bus/train or driving “because it’s easier” but in the end, it’s really not. It takes so much less time both in transit and pre/post ride due to parking plus the boost from cardio is a benefit we all can use.

Why you ride: I hate driving and parking and definitely hate missing the bus. My bike is so convenient and reminds me to move when I would otherwise be sedentary most of the day.

If you are a bike commuter and would like to be featured in this series, please send an email to lauren@artintercepts.org for consideration.  Thanks!

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