Ride Your Bike to Work Day.. And then some!

written by Stacey Chappell.  To meet the rest of our blogging crew, click here!

Laura Czajkowski, an interpreter at Southeast Health and Dental Center, decided to join thousands of others in Indianapolis on May 18, 2012 and ride her bike to work!

Only she didn’t stop there.  She had such a positive experience that she has committed to riding her bike to work at least one day a week ever since.  I was able to meet with Laura and ask her a few questions about her experience with riding to work.

Here are the details!

What motivated you to participate in ‘Ride Your Bike to Work Day’?
At a couple of my previous jobs I have been able to ride to work and always enjoyed it.  I saw signs around town and heard the buzz going around about this year’s event. Then I saw that IU Health was promoting the event on Pulse and had a six-week cycling challenge to encourage employees to ride more.  I decided to give it a shot.

What made you decide to keep riding your bike to work?
‘Ride Your Bike to Work Day’ really inspired me.  I had a great experience and figured I could keep doing it at least once a week.

What are the benefits you’ve gained from doing so?
Saving gas money!  I live about 9 miles from work, which is an 18 mile round trip.  Even just one bike ride to work a week saves almost $20 a month in gas. 

I feel better and stronger.  I can tell I’m gaining strength in my lower body.  The first couple of times I rode to work, I felt really energized once I got here.  I would feel more tired by the end of the day, but that’s not the case anymore.  My body has adjusted and I just feel more energized overall when I ride in. Plus it’s easier to fit in a workout when it’s part of your commute.  I don’t have to worry about coming home and trying to get a workout in.

My coworkers have encouraged me to keep going.  They continuously support my riding goal by asking how I’m doing and some of them have either rode to work or are strongly considering it.

What are some of the barriers you’ve faced with riding to work?
Construction and weather are probably the two main barriers.  If the weather is bad I can’t risk riding, and there’s a lot of construction along my way to work.  Also, if I have meetings during work, or commitments before or after work, they may prevent me from riding.  That’s why I’ve only committed to at least one day a week.  I figure it’s not reasonable for me to ride everyday, but one day a week is reasonable and I have definitely seen benefits from just riding once a week.*

Riding a bike to work is certainly not feasible for everyone.  Barriers such as distance, time, improper equipment and lack of safe routes can understandably prevent many of us from participating.

But for some of us this can work.

If you’re even considering the possibility of riding your bike to work, I strongly encourage you to try it!  If you’re nervous to do it alone, talk to some coworkers and see if riding together would be possible.

Maybe you start slower.  If the commute to work is too long or intimidating, try riding your bike to run an errand or just taking a short bike trip in your neighborhood on the weekend.  Some is better than none.  As Laura mentioned above, even riding one day a week does make a difference!

Below are some great resources for more information about cycling in Indianapolis:
Central Indiana Bicycling Association
Indiana Bicycling Information
IndyCOG – Indianapolis Bicycle Advocacy

Do you ride your bike to work?
Do you want to start?  What barriers have you come across?
Comment below!

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