May is all about bikes. We’ve got National Bike Month, Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day. In honor of May 17th being Bike to Work Day, I’m highlighting two of our bike-enthusiast P1 team members: Craig Brady and Ryan Lewis. First up today is Ryan Lewis, one of our rock star customer service supervisors in Wichita focused on ensuring our customers get the positive experience they expect from Protection 1. I sat down with Ryan and asked him a few questions about riding his bike to work and his “car-lite” lifestyle. Here’s what Ryan had to say:
How often do you ride your bike to work? What are the reasons that have prevented you from riding on work on certain days?
With the exception of a month this year when my bike was in pieces while I upgraded some of the major components, I generally follow a self-imposed rule that I don’t ride when there is ice on the ground or lightning in the sky. My car is reserved for inclement weather and days when I have more items to carry than my bicycle rack and backpack can hold.
Why did you start riding your bike to work?
I have always been an active environmentalist. I could no longer resolve my commitment to the environment with my continued reliance on harmful fossil fuels.
How long did it take for this to become an everyday habit for you?
I tend to jump into new initiatives feet first, so my experience was atypical. It didn’t take long to get in the habit of riding a bike, but It did take a few months to get a consistent routine down: finding the best routes to take, what to bring to the office, what to leave at the office so I don’t have to carry it, etc.
What benefits do you get out of riding your bike to work?
Although it was inadvertent, bicycling to work led to positive changes in my health. Bicycling was an easy way for me to transition from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one. The bicycle provided an avenue for me to build up my cardio and lose weight. A year after I started bicycling to work, I was able to start running, one mile at a time. Within the year was able to run 10+ miles regularly. In addition to the health benefits, I also save a lot of money. Since I started bicycling to work and other destinations, my fuel consumption is down by 3/4ths.
Have you convinced anyone else to bike to work?
I may be responsible for a few converts. What I really try to do is make bicycling as accessible as possible. People tend to see super-fit riders in their cycling tights on their $3,000 bikes and assume that cycling is not attainable. More often, I find myself giving out cycling tips and advice, whether it be on how to find a good bike at a reasonable price, best practices for commuting, or the best resources for repairs and maintenance.
Do you participate in other bike events?
I do participate in group rides. Some of my rides are organized through local organizations and bicycle co-ops, but usually it is just my friends and I taking our bikes out for fun rides around town. I don’t have much experience racing. I have a preference for old steel bikes, I get a lot of enjoyment out of cleaning and fixing an old bike to bring it back to life. Old bikes make for a smooth ride, but are nowhere near as quick as modern bikes, so I probably wouldn’t fare well in a race.
Do you have any advice for those who want to get into biking?
Transitioning from an automobile to a bicycle is something that is best built through habit. If you are thinking about riding a bike, start out with a recurring destination ride. I was able to get my wife into cycling by starting her off with a weekly Sunday morning ride to get breakfast. Once the habit is established, make rules for bike riding. Start off with a rule that if your destination is within a mile, leave the car in the driveway and ride a bike. Over time, as riding gets easier, expand your bicycle travel area to encompass a wider radius. If you have family members who would travel with you, get them involved. I now keep a garage full of bicycles so I always have an extra on hand in case family or friends stay over.
Anything else you want to add?
If you have entertained the idea of getting into cycling, but are not sure where to get start, you have resources. Most cities have at least one bicycle co-op. In my experience, bicycle co-ops are full of knowledgeable, friendly bicycle enthusiasts. What I like about co-ops is that they are not in it to make a profit, but to get more people on bikes, so repairs and training are always cheap and advice is always free. If you don’t have a co-op in your area, bicycle shops are also a wealth of information. Even if you don’t have the funds to invest in a brand new bike, most bike shop staff are willing to share their insight and advice. Often, bike shops will even provide bicycle fittings, to determine which size of bike would be best for you, at no cost.
Ryan, thanks for the advice and thanks for being such a positive example for living a healthy lifestyle – P1 is proud to have you in the family!