Bike-a-holics speak outMay is National Bike Month, an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride, whether it’s to get to work or school, to save money or time, to preserve our health and the environment or to explore the world.
May is National Bike Month, an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride, whether it’s to get to work or school, to save money or time, to preserve our health and the environment or to explore the world.
We interviewed some bike riders to ask what riding means to them.
- Former Grand Forks resident Daniel Sondreal, 28, a part-time student and Target employees in Lawrence, Kan., misses riding the flat landscape in Grand Forks. His bicycle is a Trek Alpha 4300, a traditional mountain bike, that he wanted for transportation and exercise.
“There are a lot of different benefits (to riding a bike) but to me it’s the exercise,” he said. “You’d think on a bike you’d have to be more aware, but I’m not worrying about hitting anybody or speeding or anything like that. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more environmentally aware.”
Sondreal said he rides his bike probably eight months out of the year. Last year, he biked down a long hill so icy that he had to put his feet on the ground like skis.
“On my way down, I passed someone going up and I don’t know how he made it,” Sondreal said.
Sondreal said he likes how riding a bike makes him feel. “After I ride to work on a bike, my body feels alert and ready to go,” he said.
- Tom Rand, 73, East Grand Forks, figures he’s been riding his bike to work for more than 40 years. He’s associate dean for the UND College of Arts and Sciences, and it takes him 17 to 20 minutes to ride to campus. That’s virtually the same time it would take him to drive a car, plus he can park his bike at his front door.
He rides during the cold months too, although he skips it when the streets are icy.
“For many years, the bikes I would commute on were bikes I would buy at the thrift stores,” Rand said. “I would leave them unlocked out here and every two years someone would steal one and I’d buy another one.”
Then his hip started bothering him and it became too hard for him to swing his leg over any old bike. So he retired the $20 thrift store bikes and bought a $400 Trek that was more comfortable and easier to get on and off.
Next month he’ll have hip surgery, he said.
“My hip doctor said, ‘Keep riding your bicycle. Do the surgery, but don’t give up the bike riding.’”
- Aaron Ortiz, 29, a recruiter of doctors for the Center For Rural Health at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences, just moved to Portland, Maine, and when we spoke to him he was on a bicycle tour of Maine and had just arrived in Burlington. Recreation is his favorite reason for riding a bike.
“I like to go at my own pace and see things,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz said he had biked 200 miles in two days on his Surly Long Haul Trucker (made in Bloomington, Minn.) packed with camping supplies, clothing and lots of food. His goal was to make it to Montreal.
Ortiz said he enjoys bike tours for the people he meets and as a way to get to know the rural countryside.
“And I get to eat 10,000 calories a day, so that’s pretty good too,” he said.
Grand Forks is a great place for riding, he said.
“It’s a good group of people and they’re very motivational. It’s like, ‘Oh, Ted’s riding to work today. I should, too.’”
n For more about National Bike Month, go to www.bikeleague.org/programsbikemonth.