QUICK COLUMN: National challenge aims to get 50,000 Americans to ride 10 million miles
It's one of those things that makes so much sense and yet no sense at all.
Riding your bike to work takes care of two tasks at one time: getting to and from work and exercising. Better yet, you can save on gas, parking, perhaps coffee, a gym membership, a personal trainer and another precious commodity, time.
And yet it makes no sense because, in the greater scheme, hardly anyone is doing it.
Granted, we've created communities developed around the car where daily commutes from say, Summerville to downtown Charleston, make it physically difficult and life-threatening for the average person to commute.
But those who live closer don't do it, either. I'm guilty, though I do replace some car trips with bike rides on days off.
Man with a mission
Dr. Lance Davis, a physician at Roper St. Francis Hospital's Hyperbaric & Undersea Medicine Center, has commuted via bike, periodically, from his home off of Ben Sawyer Boulevard in Mount Pleasant to Roper's downtown office for years.
Though active — enjoying the rigors of rugby, Ultimate Frisbee, working out in the gym and even training for and completing an Ironman triathlon — the 43-year-old has struggled with his weight, relatively speaking.
His 6-foot, 1-inch frame once clocked in at 240 pounds. Earlier this year, following a string of sports-related injuries and weight gain that topped out at 224 pounds in January, Davis chose to clean up his diet and to “get over making excuses.” He decided to use his bike as his primary mode of transportation.
His commuting mileage, which included going to the gym, the beach and even on dates, went from about 80 miles a week to 150 miles, while his weekly mileage in the car was less than 20. Davis credits the changes to making it a habit to ride.
On Thursday, he was down to 195 pounds, a weight he hadn't seen in 12 years.
And while he has since learned of other physicians who ride their bikes to work, he's on a mission to spread the gospel of bike commuting via Facebook.
“The bottom line is that it represents everything I believe in — protecting the environment, decreased gas consumption ... fitness, health, competition and time management,” says Davis. And besides all that, Davis adds that biking “makes me feel like a kid again.”
10 million miles
Davis is among other locals who recently signed up to be part of the National Bike Challenge, which wants to get 50,000 people to ride a total of 10 million miles from May 1 to Aug. 31. As of the middle of last week, 27,599 cyclists had ridden 5.1 million miles, burned 122 billion calories, saved 4.6 million pounds of carbon from being released and saved $1,073,961.
The event is being organized by Endomondo (an app that tracks mileage via phone GPS), the League of American Bicyclists, Bikes Belong and Kimberly-Clark.
The challenge is simple, free and open to everyone. Sign up at www.endomondo.com/campaign/national as an individual or as a team, log miles, share stories and encourage others to join you.
Reach David Quick at 937-5516 or email@example.com.