Madeline Kreider Carlson

Transportation experimentation: Member spotlight on Philip Ogren

Meet one of our brand new members, bikes-for-transportation advocate Philip Ogren.

“My family recently decided to go car-free and use our electric bikes, bikes and public transit only,” Philip told me when we met on Bike to Work Day. I wanted to learn more.

Philip on ebike ws

A conversion story

Philip first heard about electric bikes from a friend. “I had settled into a good multi-modal commute routine: bike to the bus from my home in Boulder, ride to Broomfield, then bike the last mile or so to work.” Sometimes, though, the bus schedule was inconvenient or there were too many bikes on the bus.

“My commute is 10.5 miles one way, with lots of elevation change,” Philip explained. “I was enamored with the idea of a pedal-assist electric bike that would let me ride every day without having to shower and change clothes.”

He did some research and ultimately decided to convert his bicycle into an electric pedal-assist bike using a kit from Denver-based company Electric Bike Outfitters, who collaborated on the installation and troubleshooting process.

After installing the kit in January, Philip rode to work nearly every day in February. Since then, he has logged over 1700 miles on his e-bike.

Experiments in mobility

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Akane on ebike ws
Philip’s wife Akane riding her cargo e-bike

Not long ago, Philip and his wife, Akane Orlandella Ogren, both owned family-sized motor vehicles. First, they consolidated to one car. With smart coordination of kid pickups and errands, they found it doable.

Their family’s no-car pilot project is a new adventure: “With our new e-bikes, we said, ‘Let’s try spending the summer without a car.’” They haven’t committed to living car-free permanently, but it’s been a success so far.

How does their system work? “We have a fleet of bikes and we use the bus system a lot—every one of our kids has a bicycle and an EcoPass.” The kids are learning how to take the bus on their own for short trips to the local rec center or grocery store. The pedal-assist electric bikes make errands—even trips to Costco hauling a trailer and cooler—much more feasible.

When Philip was a child, “bicycling gave me free rein to explore,” he recalls. He wants his kids to experience their own independent exploration. “As our kids become teenagers, we don’t want to have to assemble a fleet of cars for them to get around. We want to teach them other ways of being mobile and feeling empowered.”

Asking for serendipity

Environmental responsibility and plain old happiness drive Philip’s transportation decisions: “The whole goal was to reduce our environmental footprint and car usage. I love getting around without having to use a car.”

“When you ride your bike someplace, you ask the universe for serendipity. You discover things and people that you wouldn’t find otherwise. If I’m riding the bus, I can have a conversation with my neighbor. If I’m biking next to a creek, I can stop to dip my toes in.”

Playing the How can I get there? game

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Philip and Akane ws
Philip and Akane take a selfie during their e-bike honeymoon tour along the US-36 Bikeway

Though their system is grounded in practicality, Philip’s family has a playful approach to meeting transportation needs. His advice to anyone wanting to bike more for transportation? Go somewhere fun!  

Philip’s family has a standing agreement: anytime the kids want to bike to their favorite local ice cream place, they all go. At three miles one-way, Philip says the ice cream shop excursions are a great way for his kids to learn that biking can serve as fun, exercise and transportation.

“Once, it started raining cats and dogs while we were eating our ice cream. It was still pouring when we started home, but the skies cleared up as we rode. The kids were totally lit up: riding through puddles and getting wet made them so joyful.”

Philip and Akane have fun with their electric bikes, too. After they got married, they took the e-bikes on a honeymoon trip along the US-36 Bikeway to Denver, with stops to play disc golf in Broomfield and eat a midday meal in Westminster before cruising into Denver for the evening.

Next up on the family’s list of adventures by bike? Going camping with the whole family at Golden Gate Canyon State Park.  

Advocacy makes a bike-friendly community

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Aneka on bike path ws
An easy way to be an advocate: get out and ride!

Philip praised Boulder’s system of trails and bike lanes: “I know that bike-friendly infrastructure and culture isn’t an accident, and it doesn’t just happen organically. I appreciate how much care and effort has gone into making our bike-friendly community possible.”

Philip suggested one easy way that anyone can be a bike advocate: get out and use the bike lanes, trails and other infrastructure that’s available to you. More people out riding bikes means more momentum for bike-friendly policies.

Your turn!

I love highlighting the fun, creative ways that members use their bicycles to enrich their lives. If you’d like to tell your story, email me at madeline@bicyclecolorado.org. Not a member yet? Join today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Madeline Kreider Carlson

About the Author: Madeline Kreider Carlson

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