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).
Courtesy of SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC)
“I enjoy it every time I ride,” said Bob, a computer systems administrator in Sitka for the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). “It’s a day of exercise for me.”
Bob, 45, rides about three miles each way from his home to work. He said his ride takes about 20 minutes, but he’s going an average speed and he’s not in a big hurry. He wears street clothes when he rides, with full rain gear on wet days.
“I do like the fresh air I get, and I’m definitely ready to work when I get here. I’m wide awake,” Bob said. “My senses are keen, since I have to watch for cars and people when I ride. This is a good stress release and exercise. Sometimes I can go places on the bike that I can’t go in a vehicle, like when there was road construction and the flagmen waved me ahead of the cars.”
Bob rode quite a bit when he was younger, but he didn’t ride as much when he was an adult. He bought a new bike in 1995, and took it with him to Colorado when he went to college. But he didn’t really start riding it until he got back to Sitka. “It was easier to get in the vehicle and go places,” Bob said.
Bob and his wife used to have two vehicles. But after their daughters were born three and five years ago, Bob’s wife became a stay-at-home mom and they got rid of one of the vehicles. They save about $600 a month total with no car payment, lower insurance costs and fewer fill-ups.
About the same time they got rid of the second car, was also about the same time a road construction project near his house ended and he no longer had to breathe a cloud of dust when he rode. Bob bought proper gear for riding to work, including heavy-duty rain gear, boots and saddlebags. During the winter, he has studded tires, a good head lamp, tail light and reflectors all over. He also always wears a comfortable helmet.
“I use riding my bike as a supplement to running and going to the gym,” Bob said. “Doing all these things keeps my routine interesting. Plus it’s a great way to get around.”