Jody Lazar had ridden a lot when she lived in New York City, but had hung up her road bike for years while living in Atlanta. When her family was considering the next move to Central Florida, Jody’s husband showed her Maitland where she saw bike lanes and “Share the Road” signs. She said, “This is the community for me! I can get my bike out again and ride.”
Twelve years ago when they made the move to Maitland, Jody began biking to school with her two young children. Today, she is widely known as one of the original “Maitland Moms” who helped shape the “Walk n’ Roll” program at Dommerich Elementary school. The program helped promote children walking and biking to school and is the model Healthy Central Florida has adopted across the region.
With her children nearly grown, Jody has been working for a year and a half at the Winter Park Public Library where she works as a Community Librarian. She happily commutes about three days a week. “I was so excited to get a position at a library only four miles from home. It destresses you after work – and gets you ready for work by moving your body,” she said. “Riding is a fun way that I get my fitness tracker to count some steps.”
When asked what she loves most about riding her bike, Jody said, “I just love being outside. I love being on a bicycle – it’s very freeing and uplifting. It makes me feel healthy, like I’m doing something good for my body and mind.”
Jody reminded us that biking to work “doesn’t have to be a commitment”. She rides about three days per week, but said, “Just try it once – or try it a couple of times a year. There are certain days that are promoted and there are organizations that can back you up and help you try it.”
Organizations and events like Healthy Central Florida’s “Bike to Work Day” which is coming up on March 9 or Rethink Your Commute, which can help map out your ride, are there to help make riding safer and more comfortable.
Riding can even take a comparable amount of time to driving. Many people would be surprised to learn how little difference there is in the time it takes to ride vs. driving, especially for short distances. For example, Jody said, “I have a meeting tomorrow at Brookshire Elementary School. It would take eight minutes by car and only eleven minutes by bike.” She smiled and said, “I’m definitely going to bike!”
We hope you will take Jody’s advice and try it! Bike to work on a Friday — or any day of the week. And plan to join us for Bike to Work Day on March 9th. More details will be coming soon.