Cyclist of the Month: Shaun Darragh


Age: 41
Occupation: senior lighting designer, Affiliated Engineers, Inc.
Degree: Communications & Theater Design, University of Massachusetts – Amherst
Hometown: Malden, MA and Tamworth, NH
Wheels: rain: 1986 Bridgestone MB3; touring: Surly Long Haul Trucker; go-fast: custom High Ti Cycles race bike; travel: Dahon D7 folding bike

Shaun Darragh divides his year into two parts: ski season and cycling season. Although Shaun bike commutes year-round, ironically, I reached his cell phone on one of the three days out of the year that he drives into work.

Shaun joined Cascade Bicycle Club 15 years ago, after moving to Seattle from Boston. He loves the mountains here, and enjoys skiing at Stevens Pass during the winter.

Plus, his Seattle commute is shorter. On rainy days, Shaun can ride less than two miles to downtown from Capitol Hill. In better weather, Shaun’s typical roundtrip commute is 10-15 miles, via the University District and Dexter Ave. His office building has five dedicated bike racks that are monitored by parking attendants; and a health club in the building provides lockers and shower to employees for $20 per employee per month.

Two blinky lights and mirrors are mounted on each of Shaun’s bikes, but his favorite commute accessory is Stella – a helmet-mounted 180-lumen LED bike light by Light & Motion. “A helmet-mounted light helps you capture drivers’ attention by directing the beam – particularly at drivers turning left in front of you. You can almost direct cars. It has saved me from collisions many times.”

Shaun has completed almost every Cascade “big ride” – including Flying Wheels, Kitsap Color Classic, RSVP, and the Group Health STP, which he volunteers for every other year. He even takes a weekend off skiing to ride Chilly Hilly.

And, each year, Shaun rewards himself with an end-of-season cycling trip. For example, in November, Shaun often travels to Arizona to race in the 109-mile Tour de Tucson, which attracts up to 9,000 riders to raise funds for a variety of charities.

But mostly Shaun prefers to ride his bike for transportation. “I’ve bike commuted since grade school. I rode to elementary school, junior high, high school, and college. I’ve commuted at least part-time my entire life.”

Last year, Shaun attended the Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference in Seattle where he met Preston Tyree [vice president] and John Allen [board member] of the League of American Bicyclists. Preston and John convinced Shaun to get certified as a LCI (League Cycling Instructor).

With his LCI credentials, Shaun plans to offer two bike courses, Commuting and Traffic Skills 101, this winter to employees of his office building.

Affiliated Engineers’ Seattle branch employs 70 engineers, including Shaun who works in the Pivotal Lighting division. The company is housed in Westlake Tower, which is home many law and architectural offices — including Coffman Engineers and KPFF Architects. So Shaun coordinates an annual intra-tower commute challenge as part of Bike Month.

In 2009, the three engineering firms fielded 44 bike commuters who logged 7,027 miles during the contest. Weekly tallies are posted publicly on the lobby reader board. The winning team is determined by the number of miles biked divided by each firm’s total employees.

For 2010, Affiliated Engineers has asked Shaun to coordinate an intra-company commuting contest for its ten regional offices around the country. Expect to see Affiliated Engineers jerseys coming soon to a town near you.

Scott Marlow was marketing director for Cascade Bicycle Club from 2001-2005. The Club record-holder for the shortest commute (under six seconds), Marlow works from his home office in West Seattle.
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