Craig Saddlemire doesn’t usually drive. Sometimes that means grabbing a ride with friends, but most often it means cycling. Getting around can be a challenge when adding in heavy video equipment, unfriendly drivers and long distances. But Saddlemire loves it.

Name: Craig Saddlemire

Age: 27

Town: Lewiston

Married/single/relationship: Single

Job: Independent video maker, Round Point Movies

You recently made one of the Bicycle Coalition’s PSAs. I hear it involved you filming from a bicycle cart. In order to film a low-angle shot of a bicyclist avoiding road debris, I wanted to get the camera moving backwards and as close to the ground as possible. That required me to fold my body into the bike cart (sometimes being small comes in handy) and to hold the camera off the back of the cart. One friend was pedaling and pulling me in the cart while my other friend was bicycling at me. It took a few attempts, but the shot came out well.

Do you have a car? No. My last car was a diesel station wagon that was running on bio-diesel. One day another car hit my car while it was peacefully minding its own business, parallel parked on Bates Street. I quickly realized that I could accomplish most of my traveling without a car anyway. So, I was happy to say goodbye to car ownership in 2006.

What’s it like to bike or walk everywhere? Biking and walking as primary modes of transportation is wonderful. First of all, it keeps me healthy throughout the year. Why waste time driving to a gym when you can integrate exercise into a daily routine of travel that you have to do anyway? Secondly, when you bike and walk places, you really get to see and know your community. It’s easy to stop and say “hi” to familiar faces. Or to observe the beautiful architecture of a town or city. It’s relaxing and gives you time to think. You will never suffer from “walk rage” the same way you can suffer from “road rage” — that bizarre tendency of people (even me) to become impatient and extremely judgmental of other drivers on the road. I think this is caused by the fact that driving a car is a very isolating experience, as well as a potentially dangerous one. It puts people on edge.

How did you get involved in cycling? My father loves bicycling and he passed that on to me. I even still wear hand-me-down shirts he got 30 years ago at various bike races and team triathlons. I started with mountain biking and eventually came to love road bicycling as well. I tried racing in college, but wasn’t very good at it. I don’t have the mind of an athlete. I don’t want to push my physical limit, I just want to have fun while I ride.

What do you do when you need to go outside the Lewiston-Auburn area? Or if you need to carry camera equipment or a week’s worth of groceries? I commonly bike to visit friends in Greene, Brunswick and Portland. This summer a friend and I biked to and from Waterville for the Maine International Film Festival. Sometimes I will catch a ride with a GoMaine carpool shuttle in one direction and bike the other. Sometimes I take the Greyhound. When I have a lot of video equipment to haul or need to pick up my housing co-op’s farm share at Little Ridge Farm in Lisbon Falls, I use bike panniers or a trailer that holds up to 100 pounds of stuff. When all else fails, I borrow a car. I have many generous friends who support me.

What’s the best thing about cycling everywhere? Cycling is fun. Instead of looking at travel as a chore that you need to get out of the way, cycling can become a fun event in and of itself. And of course, it’s one less vehicle burning up natural resources and exhausting pollutants into our air.

What’s the worst thing? It can be lonely, and sometimes scary. I’m always disheartened by how many drivers will yell obscenities or even throw something at me or my friend when we’re biking as far to the right side of the road as possible. It seems like they do it simply because they can. I wish there was a larger bicycling community, so that being a year-round biker wasn’t viewed as such a strange thing.


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