This Orlando cyclist switched his commute from four wheels to two and hasn’t looked back

We recently asked you on Instagram to tell us about your experience with transit in Orlando and many of you told us you wish it were a lot easier to commute without a car. You told us you wished that the streets were more pedestrian and bike friendly (@lharrington20), there were an efficient, clean, fast system to at least route from downtown to main hubs of communities (@morganelyce), the buses were more frequent (@crazyinwax), there was a “far less sketchy” Lymmo service (@caitlincrump) and the SunRail needs to expand to connect more neighborhoods (@giselasbooked).

We know there are lots of improvements that could be made to our public transit system, but there are also some Orlandoans who have figured out how to make the most of living in Orlando without a car.

So this month we’re profiling Orlandoans who have committed to getting around Orlando without a car. First up is Beau Weaver, a bartender and business owner, who says he’s been leaving his car at home for more than a decade. Beau said that he prefers two wheels to four and has even been able to convert a few people to cycling over driving. We talked with him about what prompted his change, and got his tips on how to navigate Central Florida on a bike.

What made Beau switch to cycling?

Beau says it all started in 2003 when he visited Amsterdam for a few weeks and saw how many people rode bikes and the way the city was designed to accommodate for cyclists. A few years later when he settled in Orlando, he was walking to work one day and thought, “I’m gonna start riding a bike.”

He found one on Craigslist, grabbed a backpack for his Universal Studios work uniform and “just never looked back.”

Why does he prefer cycling to other forms of transit?

There are several perks to cycling for Beau, including getting some exercise and having a little meditation time. He said it also beats “hopping on I-4 and doing the gauntlet” after working a late bartending shift.

And nothing really stops him from riding. “I’ve ridden through town when [the temperature] is in the 30s, or in tropical storms,” he said.

That dedication has even led a few of his friends deciding to get bikes and try cycling as their main way of commuting around Orlando.

So what’s his route?

Beau lives near downtown and Mills 50 and his job is off Forsyth Road, so he said he usually cuts through Baldwin Park and takes part of the Cady Way Trail. And he tries to take bike lanes on roads like Semoran and Colonial because “people get real territorial about the sidewalk.”

Any tips for potential cyclists?

The first thing Beau mentioned is investing in a good helmet. Second? Buy a set of bike lights for nighttime riding. Safety first, y’all.

Want a first-hand look at Beau’s commute? Head to our Instagram highlights to check it out.

By Lance Dixon
Lance is the director for The New Tropic. Send story ideas and/or memes to lance@thenewtropic.com