Jeff Morrell of Fort Collins, Colorado has made commuting by bike a part of his life for over a quarter of a century! As a year-round commuter, he deals with widely ranging swings in the weather typical of a town nestled at the base of the Rockies. From snowstorms and below zero (Fahrenheit) temperatures to flash rainstorms, Jeff rides through it all.
As a child, Jeff cut his teeth on a red Schwinn Typhoon. “I rode it everywhere. I loved the freedom it gave me,” says Jeff. He soon graduated to a Schwinn Continental in the 6th grade. Jeff adds, “That was it. After that I was really hooked.” Aside from an eight year stint in the California Bay area, Jeff has been a life-long resident of Fort Collins. As a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly City, it certainly is an ideal place to make bicycle commuting a part of your daily regime.
Life has a funny way of guiding us one way or another. It was 26 years ago that Jeff’s car broke down, forcing him to bike to work while his car was fixed. It’s no coincidence that he has been a full-time bike commuter for the past quarter century years. Jeff recalls, “I noticed how smooth and easy commuting by bike was. I found that I could get anywhere I needed to go more quickly by bike. And once I get there, I have an easier time finding a parking spot.”
Jeff happily pedals his daily round-trip commute on a singlespeed Surly Cross Check. “When the roads get icy and snow packed I put on my Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires,” he says. The only time Jeff doesn’t commute by bike is “when the snow is deeper than my pedal stroke, which isn’t often. As a habit, I don’t drive unless I have to.”
In addition to being a dedicated bike commuter, Jeff is also President of Bike Fort Collins , a 501c(3) non-profit cycling advocacy organization. BFC “promotes safe and enjoyable bicycling in Fort Collins. We also manage the Fort Collins Bike Library, a place where anyone can check out a bike for free for up to a week.” (fcbikelibrary.org)
Jeff is proud of the city he calls home, and for good reason. “Fort Collins is a super place to ride a bike. Our infrastructure is top notch, our overall cycling organization is solid, and for the most part, the drivers respect our mode of travel and give us room to ride.” Run-ins with animals are another story. “I once had a red fox bolt out from between two parked cars and almost hit me, and just the other day I was dive-bombed by a Sparrow Hawk.” Other than these close calls with nature, Jeff says “bicycling in Fort Collins is pure bliss.” It sounds like it is, and thanks to Jeff’s work with the BFC it’s destined to stay that way for years to come.
Photo credit: Sarah Boyd/Harper Point Photography