Back in my previous life as a health outcomes researcher, I used to ride my bike to work. Unsurprisingly, I had horrible road rage and I found that in the busy streets of Vancouver, it was better for me to bomb to work on my bike instead of sit in my car and think bad thoughts in my head. Plus parking was expensive. I miss it and remember that very quickly I got fit enough that it was actually faster for me to ride than drive. I also remember that the ride to work was uphill (from downtown Vancouver up to BC Children’s Hospital) and I also had to carry my massive lunch. Kind of like resistance training but with sandwiches. I miss it. So I was delighted to learn that our elementary school principal rides his bike to work. That there’s a quality human in my books. There are other reasons, but evidently, this is an important one for me.
Principal Roos very kindly wrote an article sharing his experiences about why he is a bike commuter. He also said I could edit as I saw fit but I know better than to edit a document written by the Principal. I mean, I love danger but I don’t have a death wish! Just kidding, Ed is just about the nicest principal an elementary school could ever ask for.
Read on for his (mostly) unedited story:
Being principal of View Ridge Elementary in NE Seattle, I have an incredibly demanding schedule. Between neighborhood meetings, PTA meetings, trainings, and late nights, I have little time left for exercise. However, balancing work, family and health is the key to managing the stresses of life. If any one of these are out of balance, then my entire life feels like it’s unravelling. So, I make every effort to keep them balanced at all times. The first step to keeping them balanced is finding time for each one.
Work is certainly the easiest. I have at least 9 hours per day carved out for work. Family get their time during the week, on weekends and several days off (one of the many perks of being a principal). That leaves health. For me, the key to my health is exercise.
Ever wish you could somehow exercise in a time machine that delivers you to work the moment you’re done? Or perhaps a gym-bus or stationary bike train. You work out while commuting to work and when you’re done, you’re at work. Wouldn’t that be awesome?! Well, I have found my exercise time machine. It’s called a bike.
I commute from Everett to Seattle every day. If I drive, it can take anywhere from 35 minutes to two hours and is unpredictable. While a 35-minute drive is tolerable, I find anything over an hour to be intolerable and irritable. This is not good for my health, so I have found a way to incorporate a bike commute.
I used to be able to bike all the way to work but since my move north, I must cheat a bit. I put my bike in my Prius, drive to Lake Forest Park, and bike from there. While it’s only a 6 mile ride, this cuts my drive-time in half. Commuting this way, I exit I-5 right where the traffic backs up. I weave my way down to Lake Forest Park, and bike the remainder of the way to work. This serves two purposes: reducing the amount of car time and I’m getting in a workout twice a day. Seattle’s Burke Gilman Trail allows me to commute free of traffic, oil, exhaust, dirt and grime, which all take a toll on bikes and body. When my workout is done, I’m literally at the front door of work and ready to take on the day.
Take advantage of our mild Seattle weather combined with our excellent bike trails and give it a try! Start small and work up from there. If the hills seem daunting, try an electric bike. Bike commuting is your exercise time machine.