Thursday is the 19th annual Bike to Work Day, a county-wide recognition of the value of alternative transportation – not just bicycles, but walking, taking the bus, even carpooling to reduce carbon emissions and improve health.
Local organizations and schools are recognizing the value the bicycle commuter in different ways.
The good news for Sonoma Valley is that SVHS art teacher Owen Tuttle was named Bike Commuter of the Year, to kick off the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Month.
"Choosing a winner was difficult this year," said Aileen Carroll of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. "There were so many impressive people to choose from!
"We had inspiring nominees from all over the county: teachers, students, doctors, moms, county workers, members of local government. Many people were even nominated more than once."
"We are proud to say that in correlation with the 19th Annual Bike to Word Day, Owen is the official 2013 Bike Commuter of the Year for Sonoma County," concluded Carroll.
Said Tuttle: “My daily commute is short and sweet. Half back country roads and half old R.R. grade now bike path. Old wineries, train depots, Gen. Vallejo’s home. Mostly open grass/ marsh, with lots of frogs and birds. Deer, skunks, racoons, owls. Sometimes Mr. Fox.”
LIke any good chamption, Tuttle takes pride in his bike – it's a “very hip hybrid Trek 7.7 FX, light and strong” – and he enjoys the health benefits of riding a bike on a daily basis.
Tuttle – remember, he’s an artist – insists the advantages include “the benefit of the right brain stimulation … the right-brain response to an early bike ride is intense.”
But no awards should be necessary to motivate commuters – business, school, social or service workers – to leave the car behind when you don’t need to use it, and rediscover the fitness, fun, and right-brain stimulation a simple bike ride can bring.
For additional bike-friendly events being held throughout the National Bike Month, visit the Sonoma County Bike Coalition’s website at http://bikesonoma.org.