Griffinite participates in “Bike to Work” challenge

Sheila Marshall::: 

For most, leaving for work in the morning involves walking outside and climbing behind a steering wheel.

For Griffin resident Tracie Sanchez, it is a much simpler routine involving fresh air, two wheels and no gasoline. For the month of October, she is one of hundreds of Georgians participating in Clean Air Campaign’s Bike to Work contest, which is comprised of teams that report their miles ridden with the individual and teams logging the most miles receiving REI gift cards, and perhaps more importantly, bragging rights.

Each Monday through Friday, Sanchez, who moved into town this past March to serve as a transportation mobility manager for Three Rivers Regional Commission, rides her bicycle to her Taylor Street office, a habit she began many years ago.

“Forever,” she said when asked how long she’s been riding her bike to work. “Probably like 25 years or so.”

Her ride now is less than two miles, the shortest she’s had since her first position following her graduation from the University of Georgia.

“All my moves in all my cities have been very intentional,” Sanchez said. “First, find a job then look for a house.”

Her first move was to Washington, D.C., which was followed by Berkeley, Calif., then back to Athens before finally landing in Griffin.

“This is probably the least distance ever because it’s the closest I’ve managed to live to work in a number of years,” she said.

Once she was ready to begin looking for a rental home, she noticed the downtown revitalization and knew she was on the right track.

“I totally scouted Griffin out before I moved here,” she said. “I saw a coffee shop, a couple of diners where I can eat lunch, a dry cleaner, drug store and an Ace Hardware. I thought, done. All I needed to do was find the rental.”

Soon after she found a house in an ideal location, Sanchez was back to riding to work. It wasn’t long after when she began to hear of others who also chose this alternative commute. She said she now knows of seven others in Griffin who ride bicycles to work, and the majority are on her Bike to Work team.

Sanchez said there are a number of reasons she opts for a simpler lifestyle – not least among them, her health.

“It was economical at first – graduating college, being an intern not having a car and finding a way to get a round,” she said. “Health is definitely the reason now – to know I got 20 minutes of exercise at the beginning of the day and another 20 minutes at the end. It definitely keeps me moving and healthy. I turned 50 last week, and to know I haven’t slowed down is a great thing.”

Dealing with drivers is the greatest challenge Sanchez faces, with many failing to understand that bicycles are legitimate vehicles in Georgia, she said. Her greatest joy is much simpler.

“Just having that ride every morning and evening, clearing my mind and being outside,” she said.    “If you compare it to people who commute in their cars, it’s the same thing without the road rage.” Ω

More information on the Clean Air Campaign’s Bike to Work challenge

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Comments

  1. Also want to give props to the Griffin team, composed of folks who’ve been here and dedicated to cycling in Griffin much longer. Team P4S: Michelle Cannon, Lee Russell, Jennifer Scott, Tracy Huckaby, and Dustin Graves, Ashley Green, Don Phelps too, who are also out there every day. Roll models all!

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