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 profiles appeared previously in newsletters for the various organizations).
Lisa Sadleir-Hart has been commuting to work by bicycle off and on for 20-25 years, beginning shortly after she started working for the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) in Sitka. But she didn’t become more consistent about riding her bike until about 2004.
“My husband has consistently biked to work, and then when the Bike to Work Week was launched at SEARHC I started riding more,” Lisa said.
Lisa is community nutrition department manager for SEARHC and the coordinator of SEARHC’s employee wellness program, so she knows all about the health benefits of riding. But she also enjoys some of the mental benefits.
“I enjoy the natural beauty I encounter, and going fast on the downside of the bridge” (the O’Connell Bridge, which connects Japonski Island where SEARHC is located with downtown Sitka on Baranof Island), Lisa said.
Lisa’s commute is about 12-20 minutes, and she rides about 2-3 times a week. When the weather is bad or she has to run errands, she will drive. But as a member of SEARHC’s Green Team, she likes to save energy by riding.
Sitka is in a temperate rain forest, which means about 80-120 inches of rain a year. But Sitka’s mild climate means the winters have more rain than snow, which gives riders more of a chance to bike to work all year round.
When asked if she had any tips for new riders, Lisa said, “Invest in good gear, such as fenders, dry bags and rain gear.”