Moving closer to work sounds nice, doesn’t it? Well, not to this bike commuter. Last June, Alaina Casioppo moved from Orlando to Winter Park, making her commute to work shorter – but her reaction to this wasn’t what you would expect. “I moved and my bike commute went from 12 miles one way to 8 miles and I was actually disappointed by the decrease in miles!” Alaina said. Why? It’s simple – biking to work makes her happy.
An avid cyclist, Alaina already loved biking, but it wasn’t until last year that she decided to try biking to her job as an Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator at Rebuilding Together Orlando. She started off with the goal of one to two times per week, but soon she was biking to work three days or more.
Biking to work gives Alaina time to clear her mind and have some fun in the morning. Her commute from Winter Park to Altamonte Springs takes about 30 minutes by bike versus a 20 minute car ride. “The slightly extra time it takes to bike is completely worth it; when you arrive you are awake and ready to start the day. It just makes my whole day more positive and productive,” Alaina said.
Commuting by bike also gives her the opportunity to exercise on days when her time is limited. “Some days there is no extra time to go to the gym or work out, so by commuting in I get some exercise and it makes crazy days a little less crazy”, Alaina said. Her workplace also has showers available which helps when riding on hot days.
Like the rest of us, sometimes Alaina’s busy schedule gets in the way of doing what she loves. There are days when riding to work just isn’t practical – and that’s ok. “Sometimes I need my car for my job so I have to plan accordingly – but the more I bike to work, the happier I am.”
Alaina shows us that you don’t have to bike to work every single day, just riding when you can is a great way to get active, reduce expenses and be green – all benefits Alaina sites for riding.
Kudos to Alaina and all the commuter cyclists who are making our community healthier and more bike friendly. The more cyclists there are on the road, the more motorists get used to looking out for them. If you’re thinking of biking to work, below are some helpful tips from Alaina and other great local resources.
Alaina’s advice for new bike commuters: Map out routes before going on your first ride, as there are certain roads you might want to avoid. She adds that a local bike shop is a great place to go for ideas on safe routes and tips (you can find a list below). Most importantly, follow the rules of the road and be aware of other vehicles around you. And of course, HAVE FUN!
ReThink offers Personal Bike “Escorts” – If you aren’t sure of the best or safest route, ReThink can help. They have people who will literally ride with you to show you how to get safely where you’re going. Visit Rethinkyourcommute.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org and Healthy Central Florida will connect you.
Here are a few local bike shops: