Ed – This story from Greg of Loveland, CO. Submit your commuter story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bike Week was great, and BTWD was a big, big hit at my company. The company’s
been here for 25 years and this is the first time anyone’s ever officially
organized employee participation. We have about 155 employees on three
shifts and I was expecting maybe 6 or 8 participants. We had 29 people
register from two shifts! Almost everyone checked the “first time” box, and
we had 90% participation from those who registered. I was amazed! The event
was a great success for our company, and I’ve been able to convert at least
six other co-workers into occasional bike commuters. Woo-hoo!
As BTWD coordinator, I felt it was only right to ride the entire 40 mile
distance to work. What kind of example would I set, otherwise? Since it
was also “Bike Week” during Colorado Bike Month, I maintained my normal
hybrid commute (drive 42 miles/bike 31 miles) the other four days of the
For my BTWD trek, I left my house at 5:20 a.m. It was cool, overcast and
humid. I didn’t see a whole lot of other cyclists on the road at that time
of the morning. Since none of the breakfast stations were opening until
6:30 a.m., it wasn’t a big surprise. I reached the halfway point right
around 6:30 a.m. and found myself within spitting distance (sweating
distance?) of two breakfast stations. One was a long-time independent
coffee house and bakery, while the other was a huge corporate bakery and
sponsor of the BTWD event. I decided to do an impromptu comparison.
What a difference! At the small independent, they had set up a bistro
table just for cyclists with coffee, bottled water and an assortment of
cinnamon rolls and fresh-baked muffins. They were interested in knowing how
the morning was going, and asked questions about my commute, how often I rode
and where I worked. They were friendly, helpful, and offered me more than I
wanted to take. By comparison, the corporate sponsor had absolutely
nothing set up for BTWD. I wandered into the store and stood in line with
the regulars. There were no displays saying anything was being offered for
BTWD, so if you didn’t ask, you ended up just ordering off the menu and
paying as usual! And with everything they had in the display case, they
only offered a bare bagel and coffee. Even cream cheese was an extra charge!
To top it off, the staff acted as if they didn’t want to be bothered with
any of it. They were curt and not friendly at all.
The simple results: I’ve already been back to the independent shop for
breakfast. I told them of my comparison, what a great job they did, how
pleasant it was to stop at their place, and encouraged them to continue
From this point in my ride I saw lots of other cyclists! I finished the 40
miles to work in a little over 2-1/2 hours. Besides picking up the tab for
BTWD t-shirts for all participants, I also convinced my company to set out
a few snacks. It seems like a small gesture to some, but everyone was
appreciative of the commitment shown by the company. For those who rode in
to work (some walked and others took the bus), we had planned a bike-to-lunch
ride. At lunch time we gathered for a group photo and then the cyclists
rolled out. It was a blast! There was lots of laughter and talking to, at, and
back from lunch. With all the organizing and coordinating throughout the day,
the end of the day came up fast. I was back on the road at 4:30 p.m. and
thankful for the continued cloud cover.
About half way home I crossed paths with a cycle-commuter friend I hadn’t
seen in a year (what are the odds??), so we stopped and talked for about 20
minutes. Once I started riding again I realized that stopping might have
been a poor decision (but I would never pass an old friend without
stopping). I paid for the conversation, as it was long enough for my legs
to decide we were done for the day. The last hour of the ride was
definitely the toughest! I finally crawled into my neighborhood around 7:30
p.m. Perhaps not surprisingly, the day after BTWD was the hardest.
(“Saddle, meet Butt ” you two play nice today, alright?”) All told, I
turned in 85 miles for the day and 210 cycle commuting miles for the week.
It was a good riding day and a great week!