EDITOR’S NOTE: In honor of National Bike To Work Week on May 16-20, we will be running a series of features of bike commuters who work at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Southcentral Foundation and Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium in Sitka. Thank you to Laura Kotelman of Southcentral Foundation for supplying the four Anchorage profiles and SEARHC for the Sitka profile (note, all profiles appeared previously in newsletters for the various organizations).
By Janice Swier
Southcentral Foundation (SCF) and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) are ramping up to co-manage and co-host another successful series of Anchorage Bike to Work events.
ANTHC Nutrition Research Specialist Diana Redwood has been an Anchorage Bike to Work enthusiast and participant since it began in 2005. Redwood thinks that Bike to Work Day is a great opportunity for people to start thinking about and using their bikes as a real mode of transportation.
During the spring, fall, and summer seasons, Redwood bikes her 30-40 minute commute to work every day, regardless of weather conditions. “Bad weather isn’t really an issue, it’s more about gear management [clothes and equipment] than about the weather,” Redwood explains. Before her office was moved off of the Alaska Native Health Campus, and further from her home, Redwood would make the commute on her bicycle year-round.
Being outside, enjoying the trees and birds, and knowing she is doing something that is good for her body are just a few of the reasons Redwood prefers biking to driving. She says she feels better and more energized on days when she bikes. “Even my coworkers are able to tell when I bike to work because I am more alert,” Redwood states with a smile.
Redwood’s advice to other people, “Don’t be intimidated; biking is easy and addictive – in the good way.” Redwood tells people to take advantage of the community groups who offer support and says she’d be happy to act as a resource for anyone who wants advice or encouragement.
“Bike to Work participants should try to commit to more than just one day,” encourages Redwood. “It is always sad to see the bike rack full on Bike to Work Day and empty the next.”