Pedal power
Commuting by bicycle good for UWSP employee​s, environment, wallet 

Hundreds of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point faculty, staff and students bike to work or school. Several tell why they brave the elements and encourage others to do the same during Bike to Work Week May 12-16. 

Robert Nemeth, associate Psychology professor, lists several advantages of biking: Getting to work under his own power, not having to pay for parking on campus and reduced expense of automobile. “I ride my bike to work because it’s a sensible mode of transport for the distance and cargo I need to carry to work.” 

He and his wife chose to live in a neighborhood less than a mile from campus and rarely drive. They have put only 43,000 miles on their car since 2005.  

Nemeth has begun researching persuasion and bicycling. “There are different ways you can promote bicycling—cost savings, exercise, connection to nature, reduced environmental impact. But the most important thing is that you like to ride a bicycle,” he said. 

Julie Schneider, Academic Advising, says she has never driven to a job. She biked the six blocks from home since she began working at UW-Stevens Point in September 1993 until recently. Now she walks. 

Jeremy Solin, interim director, Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education, likes having transition time between work and home. “It’s great thinking and decompressing time.  Most of my best ideas come on my bike ride to and from work.” 

Solin rides the Green Circle Trail home, which is four miles from campus, and enjoys observing plants and wildlife. He encourages others to start by biking to work or school one day a week. 

Colleen Boardman, Continuing Education, has been biking to campus since she was a student at UW-Stevens Point. Her mother encouraged a mode of transportation other than driving. “She walked everywhere,” Boardman said. Now, she encourages her children to bike and walk. 

Doug Moore, campus photographer in University Relations and Communications, bicycles to and from work year-round. “Biking is a great way to commute. It’s healthy, economical and good for the environment.” 

Moore cites two challenges: Wisconsin weather and inattentive or aggressive motor vehicle drivers.  “The best way to deal with the former is to dress for the weather.” When conditions are subzero, he wears snow pants, Cabela’s snow boots, goggles, earmuffs, ventilating face or mouth guard and a helmet big enough to fit over a winter hat. “It’s also wise to go slowly, avoid quick turns and pick your route carefully.”   

In rain, Moore recommends Gore-Tex or breathable footwear, pants and parka. 

Regarding motorists, Moore advises bicyclists to follow basic traffic rules for vehicles, be alert and aware of traffic conditions.  Avoid busy intersections, if possible. Wear your helmet at all times when biking, he says.  And don’t bike at night without head and tail lights and flashers. 

Jonathan Rivin, waste management specialist for UW-Extension’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center, enjoys being outside, especially on sunny days, and getting exercise on his four-mile commute.

Biking in winter can be dangerous because of slippery road conditions and reduced visibility for drivers in bad weather. “I try to avoid main roads in those conditions and find alternate routes with fewer cars.” 

Pulling the added weight of a bike trailer is difficult in snowy conditions, noted Kimber Goodwin, an accountant in Old Main. “Winter is the biggest challenge for biking, particularly because I pick up my two kids from the babysitter and school by bike.” 

Goodwin’s Burley trailer also provides a social aspect to biking. “It’s a great conversation starter. The conversations not only act as a catalyst for interpersonal relationships, but also get others thinking about their own commute to work.” 

“My No. 1 reason for biking-to-work is to reduce my environmental impact by using fewer resources and by reducing my carbon footprint,” she said.



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