Two of our folks, Fire Specialist Matt Buelow (E18/A) and Elizabeth Gray (Business Technology and Development/HQ) were profiled in last month's citywide HR Update to promote May as Bike Month. Read their storeis below and see how they changed to the bike commuting way of life.
Fire Specialist, Austin Fire Department, 16 mile commute each way
In 2007, Matt started riding to work infrequently. When fuel costs started rising, he began riding as often as he could. His car uses two gallons of gas a day for his commute. With gas at $4 per gallon (2008), he saved $250 in six months by riding 1,000 miles!
Matt got a helmet, got creative with his routes, and got the right clothing and gear. He enjoys cycling because it means he doesn’t have to buy gas, it helps improve his physical fitness, and it gives him time to himself. He rides to work as often as life allows, since having a 3-year old daughter in preschool can make things challenging!
"Lance Armstrong rides his bike for work, not to work," says Matt. "Is he more of a hero than you or me? I know my answer. Once a week, once a month, or on days that end in 'Y.' Everybody can do it."
Business Analyst, Austin Fire Department, 8 mile commute each way
Elizabeth rides her bike because she can. She loves the outdoors and the physical exercise. She wants to tell everyone that, although she looks and feels like an average middle-aged woman who’s had two kids, she rides a bike to work, and hopes that maybe other Austinites will think about doing so, too.
Her advice for new riders is to take Traffic Skills 101, offered by the City. This course made her feel much safer on the road.
She reminds new riders that your bike route will probably not follow your car route. She also suggests not trying to ride on the busiest roads, because you probably don’t need to. Another tip is planning ahead and using recommended routes found on the Bicycle Map web site.
"If you live outside the central city area, think about riding just once or twice a week, combining your bike ride with bus or commuter rail." Most of all, she wants those who are considering commuting to, "get ready to enjoy the freedom and sense of well-being that comes with riding a bike."