EDITOR’S NOTE: In honor of National Bike To Work Week on May 14-18, 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 Anchorage profiles (written by Janice Swier) and SEARHC for the Sitka profile (note, most of the profiles appeared previously in newsletters for the various organizations).
One could argue that Christopher Campbell could be the poster child for Bike to Work. Pulling his 1 1/2-year-old son behind him in the Chariot; Campbell commutes to work by biking, skiing, snowshoeing, or jogging year-round.
Campbell, a provider at Southcentral Foundation’s Anchorage Native Primary Care Center, started commuting by bike for a few reasons: to be more physically active and to both save money and add fewer pollutants into the air by not driving.
After starting to commute by bike Campbell recognized additional benefits, “I found that biking home from work helped me unwind from a busy day…[and] my son enjoys going by bike much more than by car.”
Campbell and his son have been commuting together for almost a year, though when it is below zero Campbell’s wife drives their son to daycare. Campbell encourages other parents thinking about commuting by bicycle with their children to, “Give it a try, it is more fun and easier to do than most people believe.”
For those commuting during the winter, Campbell encourages, “You don’t need any special equipment besides studded tires, good snow boots and a decent light.” Campbell uses his ski helmet rather than a regular bike helmet during the winter, since it is warmer, and he purchased a good head lamp.
Campbell contends that, “the most challenging part [of biking in the winter] was trying to dress with the right layers for the temperature.” Campbell admits he doesn’t like being cold, so when he first started biking in the winter he would dress too warmly for the commute. He learned to dress in one less layer than he thought he’d need since he would quickly warm up as he biked.
With all the snow Anchorage got last winter, Campbell had some additional challenges as some days there was just too much snow to bike. If Campbell knew in advance there was going to be a lot of snow he would ski or snowshoe with his son rather than bike.
This coming May 14-18 Campbell will participate in his third Bike to Work week. Campbell likes how many people ride their bikes for that week but he wishes that more people would continue to ride after the week’s events are over. Riding his bike is only one of the things he likes about Bike to Work Week, “I also like the food stations.”