Councilman and bike commuter

For Jim Walker, bicycling is just more fun than driving

photo by robert speer

The Chico City Council has several bicyclists among its members, but none as hardcore as Jim Walker. He’s a true-blue bike commuter, one who rides to and from his work as a physician’s assistant almost every day, rain or shine.

Part of his purpose is to lighten his carbon footprint, but it’s really more about feeling good. “Days I don’t ride I don’t feel bad,” he says, “but days I do ride I feel really good.”

Walker enjoys the sensory immediacy of bicycling—the wind in his face, the blood coursing through his body, the sights and sounds so close by and deeply experienced. It gives him exercise, and it’s more fun than riding in the cocoon of a car, he says: “You see more people and have more interaction on a bicycle.”

Riding has been easy this winter because of the dry weather. Good gloves and a warm coat suffice for cold, but raingear can be needed at any time. Walker has “two or three different jackets” as well rain pants, and he keeps a couple of sets of clothes at work in case he gets wet.

He keeps his bike ready, too, with a blinking rear light, a good headlight and fenders for wet weather.

“Some people say, ‘He’s not smart enough to come in out of the rain,’ ” Walker says with a chuckle, but he knows what they’re missing.