In honor of Bike to Work Day on June 27th we interviewed some local bicyclists. Each of these people rides their bike to work on a daily basis and have become lifestyle cyclists for very different reasons. They are each an inspiration for anyone who wants to ride more and drive less.
Name: Joe Bagley
Occupation: Owner, New World Sports, a bicycle rental company in Fort Collins; Massage therapist
Hometown: Fort Collins
Age: 38 years old
Bio: Joe is a semi-pro cross-country and ultra endurance mountain bike racer with over 10 years racing experience. He trains year round in Fort Collins and travels the world with an adventurous spirit.
What does biking do for you? It allows me to travel faster than walking without using any type of non-renewable resources.
Do you find that you can get most places you need to go with a bike? Yep
How long has bicycling been a part of your lifestyle? My entire life, since I was old enough to start riding.
What are some of your greatest biking accomplishments? Definitely the Rio 24 Hours of Steamboat, which I’ve done three times and the Colorado Trail Race (470 miles and 65,000' of elevation gain winding through the Colorado Rocky Mountains from Denver to Durango).
What would you say are the major health benefits to riding your bike? Physical fitness, not burning fossil fuels… I guess those are the two big ones.
How much money do you save a year by biking? Oh geeze, I don’t know, probably about $500.
What is your advice to someone who wants to ride more? Ease into it slow and be patient, because it gets easier. Make sure that you have your bike very well tuned and flat resistant tires so that you can get where you need to be on time and not have to deal with inconvenient mechanical issues. Learn how to commute to work without cycle specific clothes. This way biking will become a part of your daily routine without becoming a hassle.
Name: Chris Van Woerkom
Occupation: Recently retired from Agilent Technologies. VanWoerkom worked at Hewlett-Packard/Agilent Technologies for 35 years in a wide variety of positions in marketing and technical marketing.
Age: 57 years old
What does biking do for you? I bike in order to get in shape and clear my mind. When I’m riding my bike it’s like I’m meditating.
Do you find that you can get most places you need to go with a bike? Yeah, for the most part.
How long has bicycling been a part of your lifestyle? I’ve been biking seriously since about 1971, so for about 41 years.
What are some of your greatest biking accomplishments? I’ve participated in Ride the Rockies (an annual bicycle tour that takes 2,000 cyclists on a 6-7 day ride through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains) three times. In college I participated in the Davis Double Century (a 200 mile organized bike ride starting and ending in Davis, California) three times. But perhaps my greatest accomplishment has been converting a handful of people into lifestyle bicyclists.
What would you say are the major health benefits to riding your bike? Well, biking is obviously a great cardio workout, and its great for your mental health as well. When you’re riding you seldom have to stop for traffic and because of this it’s less stressful than driving. I don’t have to deal with stop and go traffic, so I am able to think about the day and like I said before more or less meditate.
I heard that you won a biking award at work. What was the award? On Bike to Work Day they gave me the award for the Most Avid Biker. I drove to work a total of five days that year.
What is your advice to someone who wants to ride more? Start easy and enjoy the ride. Biking lets you look around, so take some time to smell the roses.
How much money do you save a year by biking? Well, on the surface it’s actually not that much, maybe $300 in gas. But if you factor in the price of an oil change and other wear and tear I’d say probably about $400-500. Then again, if you really want to get into it, consider how often you need to buy a car and how much less wear it gets sitting in the garage. That means that you could potentially add a few years to the life of your car and save thousands of dollars.
Name: Alyse Houghton
Occupation: Receptionist at Floyd’s 99 Barber Shop
Age: 23 years old
What does biking do for you? It is my main means of transportation. It helps sustain me in many ways since I don’t have a car. It’s entertaining and fun and it’s good for your health, gives me exercise, unintentional exercise, haha! I mean I bike because I have to, but I get a great workout at the same time.
Do you find that you can get most places you need to go with a bike? Within Denver, yes, but once a week I catch a ride to Loveland to visit my boyfriend and my family.
Just out of curiosity, why don’t you have a car? When I moved to Cap Hill it was way more of a pain to have one than not and I honesty couldn’t afford license plates for it. So, I drove it to my mom’s place and it’s been there for two years now. For the longest time I just walked everywhere but having a bike allows me to get where I need to go.
How long has bicycling been a part of your lifestyle? To this extent, probably for six months. Obviously I’ve been biking forever, but I got my bike six months ago and it has been my only vehicle ever since.
What are some of your greatest biking accomplishments? Accomplishments, um, I don’t know, I rode 17 miles one day. And I can ride with my dog, that’s cool. I’m not a serious biker, but those are big accomplishments for me.
What would you say are the major health benefits to riding your bike? Well, it’s as simple as just getting a little bit of cardio exercise in and as complex as having a sustainable pollutant free way to travel.
What is your advice to someone who wants to ride more? Move to Capital Hill (Denver), get a bike and get rid of your car. You will ride a lot!
How much money do you save a year by biking? I would say $2,000 easily. I’m not paying insurance, not paying for gas, not paying for car repairs. And parking tickets, I didn’t even factor parking tickets. I save lots of money!