Driving a car 16 miles to work, especially from the Dr. Phillips area, to Winter Park, would be challenging for car commuters. Imagine riding your bike from Dr. Phillips to Winter Park – every day, twice a day, rain or shine, heat or cold, to get to and from work. That’s what Travis Martin does.
Travis is the Associate Team Leader of Prepared Foods at Winter Park Whole Foods Market, where he has now worked for five years. Before that, he opened and worked at the Dr. Phillips store. “I wanted to do something different with my life”, Travis said, referring to his shift from a car-centric life to one of a commuter and recreational cyclist. He sold his car over five years ago and hasn’t looked back. “When I finish my ride, it makes me feel good. I have a smile on my face.”
For the last five (almost six) years, Travis has been trekking the 32-mile round-trip to work, every day. During his first year of biking, the trip took well over an hour, but after learning his way around Orlando traffic (and updating from a cruiser to a Specialized Allez road bike), Travis has reduced his commute time by more than 30 minutes. As his time improved, so did his health. His resting heart rate is low 60’s and he always gets great reports during his annual physicals.
His coworkers may think of him as a big teddy bear but once they see him in his biking gear, they know he’s not someone to mess with. Built like a line-backer, the only thing that stops him is lightning – and the occasional flat tire (which he can fix in three minutes). He’s also had a broken rim or the rare encounter with a car, none serious, thankfully. Even when mishaps make him late, Travis’ coworkers can count on him to be there, full of energy, with a ready-to-go attitude.
Associate Store Team Leader of Winter Park Whole Foods, DJ Johnson, said, “Travis is a role model for all of us. He’s the ‘team’s inspiration’ for staying active and being positive.” He added, “His riding is never an excuse for being late or missing work. He is here every day.”
Travis has worked at Whole Foods for the last 13 years and during that time has climbed the ladder from a grocery bagger to Associate Team Leader. DJ also said that Travis is very involved in Green Trek, a store-wide challenge for Whole Foods employees that promotes healthy lifestyles in a fun way.
Travis might have a long commute to work, but the biking doesn’t stop there. Over the last few years, he has participated in three 200-mile bike events for Bike MS- a fundraising cycling series that supports MS research. On the weekends, you can find Travis hitting bike trails anywhere from Orlando to Tampa, his favorite one is in Minneola.
“Biking is therapeutic. It’s the best part of my day,” Travis said. At Healthy Central Florida, we agree. We salute Travis and his company for supporting walking the talk – or riding the bike towards health. Please look out for Travis and all cyclists. As you consider biking to work, below are some great tips from Travis and an awesome resource from our community partner, ReThink Your Commute.
Interested in biking to work? Here are a few tips from Travis: Learn your routes, do a safety run, hydrate with water and most importantly, invest in a good quality helmet. Although a $20 helmet might look the same as one for $60, there is a significant difference in the strength and durability. When riding at night, he recommends wearing a reflective ankle tag. Some also include ID strips and come in the form of a wristband or necklace.
Drivers, here is Travis’ advice for sharing the road with cyclists (which is permitted by law): Always obey STOP signs and stay behind the white line. Neglecting to do this is a common cause of accidents, and the reason for one of Travis’s. He also says, “Don’t be quickly inclined to blow your horn at someone on a bike” and learn the rules and regulations for cycling. You may think a biker is doing something wrong, but they are actually abiding by the law.
Personal Bike Escort – If you have been wanting to try this and aren’t sure of the best or safest route…or, you’ve considered riding your bike to a SunRail station and riding a train part of the way but aren’t sure how to navigate, 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.