By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joan E. Jennings, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Whidbey Island
OAK HARBOR, Wash. – Sailors stationed on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island participated in Bike to Work Month, May 1-30.
National Bike Month celebrates the unique power of the bicycle to save money, save time, preserve a healthy lifestyle and the environment, and to explore community or to get to a destination, according to the bikeleague.org.
“It has been great this year,” said Harold Edwards, NASWI Air Operations. “Three years ago NASWI had only one team of ten riders participating in the challenge and last year we had two teams of 10 riders. This year we have almost 30 riders participating in the challenge.”
Edwards said one of the benefits to Bike to Work Month is a boost in morale.
“We have two teams in a friendly competition to see who can get the highest percentage of riders,” Edwards said. “We find ourselves in discussion on how far we rode, which route is best, and fun stories about what we have seen on our rides.”
For Air Traffic Controller 1st Class Michael Zamarripa, assigned to NASWI Air Traffic Control, Bike to Work Month showed him that bicycling is a viable, environmentally friendly way to commute to work.
Zamarripa said Bike to Work Month was an excuse to get people out of their cars and onto their bikes to get some exercise, and for the everyday cyclist it was an opportunity to get others interested in biking.
“I love the challenge,” Zamarripa said. “I usually log [1,000-2,000] miles a year, but the competition with my coworkers made it easier to want to get up on the bike and ride even during the rainy Washington weather.”
Zamarripa said that NASWI riders have logged more than 5,800 miles.
If anyone is interested in joining the challenge and starting their own team they can visit http://commutechallenge.cascade.org/ and begin the challenge.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, the state of Washington had 26, 310 people who commuting to work using a bicycle in 2011.