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Take A Spin with UCLA’s Bike Shop Supervisor

Nate at the UCLA Bike Shop

The seasoned cyclist shares his biking experience to motivate Bruins to hop on and also go for a ride.

My name is Nate Woiwode. I run the UCLA Bike Shop and co-chair UCLA's Campus Bicycle Advisory Committee. Until recently, I lived in Tucson, Arizona, where I spent most of my free time with bikes undertaking significant back-country endeavors. Now, I live in fast-paced Los Angeles. It was an adjustment moving, but luckily, I brought my closest friend with me – the bike. 

The bike has always been a home for me. It’s been an unimaginably healthy and long-running relationship, and I can confidently say that I will continue to love the bike for the rest of my life. 

Most weeks I cycle 150-200 miles, which includes 20-35 miles a day, back and forth between Venice and UCLA. I also host a weekly ride on Thursday nights in Santa Monica. 

Typically, my weekends consist of exploring Southern California by bicycle with my wonderful girlfriend Karen, teaching Learn to Ride classes in Santa Monica, or doing trail restoration and maintenance with the kind people at LoweLifes Trail Crew. When I started at UCLA last year, I set out to explore every street between Venice and Santa Monica. 

I’ll always love the bike, but in 2023, I succumbed to the pressures and norms of living in Los Angeles and spent a couple of months driving to campus. I dreaded it. I found myself crankier. 

I was eating worse and missing the magic of my bicycle commutes, like the friendly chats I’d have with strangers in the bike lane. Aside from feeling miserable, it was also noticeably more expensive. One day, sitting in traffic, I felt this sense of accountability and guilt. “When I’m doing this, I become the traffic."

Waiting to exit off the I-10 onto 4th Street, I had finally had enough. For my health, the health of the city and world that I live in, my finances, and the sake of fun, the decision came to me: “I am never driving to campus again.”

There are many reasons to get to campus by any method besides driving. It doesn’t take much to realize the impact that vehicle trips have. UCLA's 2023 State of the Commute report showed an average of 86,773 vehicle trips are made each day to campus. The university estimates that 44,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions come from commuting annually. 

So, I ride my bike again, and it’s awesome.

My favorite way to get to work has been on an eCargo bike purchased from Virtue Cycles. The eCargo is useful in congested Los Angeles. I take my dog to the dog park in the morning, then drop her off at home before heading to campus. 

Ebikes make wandering easy and joyful. On the weekend, I use it to take Karen and our dog to the Farmers Market or the beach. Once you develop a parking and charging strategy, ebikes are the easiest way to transition into living car-free and the fastest way for me to get "door to desk" on my commute.

Sometimes, I’ll head home in the opposite direction to see new parts of town or try a new restaurant. Bicycle parking is easy to find, so I’ll stop by friends’ houses and businesses. 

Or, I’ll stop by the beach on my way back to Venice and swim in the ocean. Unlike driving my car, I enjoy riding my bicycle, and the trip back turns the worst part of my day around. I’m the best version of myself out on the bike. A friend said, “People can create the world they want to live in.” I find an immense amount of personal agency and personal discovery in my time with the bike. 

Stop by the UCLA Bike Shop for more resources and knowledge! If you want to try biking to campus, start by riding and using public transportation. You can load your bicycle onto a bus or train — handling the first and last mile on two wheels. Or take transit first and then ride your bike home. Maybe you’ll even pedal both ways at some point.

We owe it to ourselves and our community to try to leave the world in a better place than we found it. I think the bike is a great way to do that.