Trading in four wheels for two
May 18, 2013
For the past five years, a bicycle has been Jeff Resler's principal mode of transportation on his daily commute from his Carson City home to his work as a civilian contractor for the Nevada National Guard.
"Health is the first thing," he said, explaining his doctor advised him to find an activity with less impact than running. "I enjoy it and it's fun is the second. Saving money and energy in gas is the third reason."
Resler, who has since ridden in the Death Ride four times, is sharing his expertise and passion with his fellow soldiers this week as the team leader for the National Guard Rough Riders as part of the Corporate Challenge organized through Carson City's walking and biking advocacy group, Muscle Powered, in honor of National Bike to Work Week.
The challenge pits businesses and institutions against one another for most miles ridden, most trips taken and highest percentage of employees participating. Individuals can also compete.
In addition to riding to and from work, the Rough Riders also plan rides during their lunch hour and had accumulated more than 500 miles by Friday, National Bike to Work Day. The team is in the running for the most miles ridden, which will be announced along with winners of the remaining categories, at today's End of Bike Week Party beginning at 3 p.m. in Telegraph Square.
The event is one of several planned throughout May, which is National Bike Month.
For some of the riders, like Resler, the daily commute by bicycle is fairly routine.
"It's natural to us," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Roy Hellen, who typically rides his bike to work during warm weather. "We already have a head start."
For others, it's more of an adjustment.
"There's a little bit of a learning curve with this thing up your crack," said Staff Sgt. Vince Carlese. "My primary bike has a throttle … with a much more comfortable seat."
Jeff Potter, trails coordinator for Muscle Powered, is organizing the challenge. While fewer businesses are participating this year, he said, the number of individual competitors has increased, some riding in from as far away as north Reno, Minden and Dayton.
"It's so cool," he said.
The intent of the Corporate Challenge, Potter said, is to serve as an incentive for people to try out bicycle commuting.
"When I'm in the car, I'm disconnected," he said. "When I'm on my bike, it's completely different. It's a neat feeling being connected with society. Get out of your car, and see it's so much fun."
And a good way to get in your daily exercise, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Tom McElroy.
"Soldiers have to do aerobic fitness anyway," he said. "Bicycling can prolong your career in the military by giving you exercise without the impact."