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On Wednesday, May 14, 2014, Community joins dozens of other companies in Fresno and thousands of companies across the United States who are encouraging employees to put on their biking shorts and helmets in the month of May for Bike To Work Day.
Although I wouldn’t call myself an enthusiast yet, I’ve enjoyed the trails in Fresno thanks to my neighbor Carlos Ramirez, who is part of the Fresno Cycling Club. In a couple of Saturday bike rides I learned a few things, such as... to say you’ll ride a “ metric century” means that you’re riding 100 miles or 12 hours. Another piece of trivia I learned is that a pack of bikers is called a “pelaton." One member of the pack may serve as the “domestique,” or “servant” because they sacrifice their individual performance to help their teammates by carrying extra supplies like food and water. I told Carlos that I’d like to simply claim that I was the domestique to explain my slow pace. He just smiled.
Both. We know that exercise that raises your heart rate for an extended period of time, helps control your weight, elevates your mood, and lowers your blood pressure. But cycling is also a “Green” thing to do. The Silicon Valley Biking Coalition says that almost 40 percent of Bay Area commuters live within five miles of their workplace and that if all these people ditched their cars and biked to work instead, it would take 60,000 cars off the road that day, and reduce vehicle emissions by more than 150,000 pounds. Wow.
I decided to ask John Kass, avid cyclist and Chief Nursing Officer for Clovis Community Medical Center, how he got into biking. He said that his passion for cycling happened when his grandpa John Kohler, who was a world traveler, bought him an English Racer. At 5 years old, he wasn’t even tall enough to get on the bike himself, so his grandfather would hoist him up, and with a quick push, he’d was off -- riding in circles to the amusement of the neighbors until one of them would catch him and help him down. “Riding a bike just came naturally to me,” John said.
Now instead of riding in circles around the neighborhood, John routinely rides 60-70 mile rides on a Saturday with an elevation of 4000 ft. When I asked him to take a bike-selfie, he texted me this photo. I replied, and texted “Retake it! You need to smile.” His response was no-nonsense. “That’s what I look like after my heart rate reaches 150 and I’ve hit 90 watts per minute,” he texted back. Only my light bulbs at home have watts, so having no idea what he was talking about, I simply replied with a smiley face emoticon and the note “OK.”
Yes. John says that when he’s cycling he watches his bike computer and tries to drive himself, but that he also likes the teamwork and fun of biking with a group. Despite a little incident when a car pushed him off the road and he flew head first over the front of his bike suffering a fractured thumb, John is passionate about his sport of choice. When asked how old he thinks he’ll be when he stops biking, he said, “I can’t imagine ever stopping. It’s a part of who I am.”
Thanks to the enthusiasm of our employees, Community has created a number of great opportunities to Get Fit, including participation in the Kaiser Permanente Bike To Work Day! So, grab a friend, your helmet and your bike and register to ride with us on May 14!