Wednesday, April 18 is Tempe Bike to Work Day. From 6:30 a.m. until 8 a.m. riders can stop by a variety of local businesses to receive a free breakfast and T-shirt (while supplies last). The Tempe City Council is supporting the annual event with a community bike ride from Whole Foods Market on Rural and Baseline to Ncounter on Mill Avenue in downtown Tempe.
Several Rio Salado College employees are advocates for cycling as a form of transportation, exercise and recreation. Here’s what they have to say about it.
James Paluzzi –Dean, Division of Public Service
- As transportation: “I bike to work every day. I take the light rail from downtown to Washington and Priest then bike the rest of the way.”
Going green: “I started this sustainable transportation mode six years ago when I was at Colorado Public Radio in Denver. I got rid of my SUV, and continued the train/bike combination ever since. I was fortunate that Phoenix started its light rail service just three months before I started work at Rio Salado in 2009.”
Even when it rains: “Some days, particularly during our rare bouts of inclement weather, I can put my bike on the 56 Bus that takes me to Washington and 14th Street -- a little less than a mile away from the Tower.”
Matt Freed – Marketing and Public Relations Executive Assistant
- For fitness: “I ride to have fun and stay in shape. I do enter races, but my goal is only to finish the race. I find the culture of competitive cyclists to be very positive and uplifting.”
Getting started: “If you’d like to get into mountain biking or road riding, it’s important to invest in your bike and some essential gear. I recommend renting a bike from the local bike shop or go to a manufacturer’s demo day to see which type of cycling will suit you. An entry-level mountain bike will costs about $600-$1,000, so you want to make sure it’s what you want. You’ll also need a helmet, gloves, bike shorts, tools for changing a flat, tubes, lube, something to carry your water, and an understanding spouse (you’ll be gone a lot). ”
Totally worth it: “It’s all worth it. It’s just like being a kid – that feeling of freedom doesn’t go away when you are out there pedaling.”
Eddie Calderon – Website Manager
- Why not?: “I have been riding bikes for a big chunk of my life. I just like to ride.”
Tips and Tricks: “Plan out your path to avoid busy streets when possible. It’s really a much more enjoyable ride when you’re not jockeying for position with cars. Know how to change a flat tire – just in case. And I would avoid riding from July through mid-September, unless you really like riding in an oven.”
Fast fact: “If you ride to work at Rio twice a week on a regular basis, you can get free access to the workout center. It’s the best way to clean up for work after a ride.”
- To save money: “My bike became my main mode of transportation in June of 2008. Gas, car payments and insurance all take up so much cash that I’d rather carefully plan my trips around carpooling, public transportation, and biking.”
Bonus points: “I get a sense of pride from being able to use my own strength to get from one place to another.”
Safety advice: “Try to choose routes with bikes in mind and follow the rules. Always ride with traffic, if there's a bike lane DON'T ride on the sidewalk, use hand signals, and stop at stop signs. Also remember to ride defensively, you have to protect yourself from people who aren't paying attention. You may be in the right if someone hits you, but it's better to be alive than right!
Fashion advice: “Wear a helmet, mussed hair is nothing compared to a head injury. And finally...a simple bandana tied above the knee with pins holding your skirt in place can do wonders.”
Green with envy: “When you're on a bike (even when you're following rules!) a lot of people will gawk at you, act rude, or try to shout things at you from their motorized vehicles. These people are just intensely jealous of your majestic bicycle.”
Randy Kinkel – KBAQ 89.5 Host
- For exploring: “You don’t have to ride your bike on the same route you would use to drive your car to work. You can usually find quieter side streets to use. You’ll get to know your neighborhood better, you see more things on a smaller, more human scale than when you’re speeding by in your car. You might discover a great new park, shop or restaurant you’d never noticed before – I Have.”
Epic Gears: “My bike is a vintage 1980s Univega road bike that I converted into a singlespeed. I only live about five miles from work, so I bike when I can to get exercise and save money on gas. I lost 20 lbs, plus it’s fun!”
Rollin’ With the Homies: As any good Beethoven fan would, Kinkel keeps a bust of the classical composer handy that (coincidently) fits perfectly into his cargo basket.
For fun: “I ride almost every day. It’s a chance to get out and meet the neighbors.”
And fitness: “I usually ride alone since my available time is varied. I have the UP wristband by Jawbone that tracks my movement to an iPhone app. Biking counts as exercise and steps. I try to keep around 5,000-10,000 steps a day.
And to impress the neighbors: “They really like my bright pink bike.”