Two-wheeled commuters celebrate Bike to Work Day

By Kimber Williams | Emory Report | May 21, 2012

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Nearly 70 people chose a bicycle over a car to get to work at Emory and nearby businesses on May 18. Photo by Kimber Williams.

Ask Brooke Peery why she bikes 4.5 miles to and from the Emory campus every day, and the masters of public health student will percolate a stream of practical advantages: exercise combats hours of sitting in a classroom; biking saves hundreds of dollars annually in campus parking fees and gasoline costs; it's better for the environment.

"Plus, I enjoy being on my bike," Peery enthuses. "When I was in the Peace Corps in West Africa, I had to bike everywhere. And as a public health student, I like to practice what I preach."

Peery was alongside fellow cyclists Friday morning as they gathered at a campus "energizer station" for bagels, coffee and juice to celebrate Bike to Work Day on May 18. 

The national event, which encourages people across the country to ditch their cars in favor of a two-wheeled commute, is held as a part of National Bike Month to show solidarity for cycling and promote the advantages of pedaling to work.

At Emory, Bike to Work Day drew about 70 bicycle commuters from throughout the campus community and the nearby Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — a good turnout, says April Biagioni, a masters of public health student, who helped run the event, which was sponsored by Bike Emory, the CDC and the Clifton Corridor Transportation Management Association.

"This (gathering) gives everyone who rides a bike or thinks about riding a bike the opportunity to congregate for a little fellowship," says Jamie Smith, director of Bike Emory.

For two hours, cyclists cruised in for food and conversation, free taillights and bicycle adjustments from Bicycle South. The mood was supportive and spirited — an impromptu early morning flash-mob-party on wheels.

Participants ranged from first-time commuters to cycling veterans and those who joined a "bike train" to experience the camaraderie and safety of cycling together.  "I've been biking my whole life and bike to work every day," says Marissa Esser, an Emory alumna who eagerly tackles an 18-mile round trip commute to her job at the CDC.

"I love waking up in the fresh morning air, being out before it gets too hot. I don't drink coffee, so it makes me feel energized. Coming home, it's a great way to release tension. And it's exercise — you can't make excuses and say you feel too tired because you have to get home!"

For more information on bicycle commuting at Emory, visit bike.emory.edu or alternative transportation at Emory.