As a proud sponsor of the event, we're wondering how we can get involved with the cycling scene. Why bike? And what does it take to even get started? According to two BECU employees, very little.
“People who ride help others who ride,” says Lorraine Stewart, BECU's VP of Mortgages. Stewart's cycling days began when she took an interest in triathlons, joining the Cascade Bicycle Club in 2011. A 37-year-old organization coordinating rides, classes, support and events, Cascade is a great place for a novice to learn. Stewart was hooked, and is now a pace leader for the 12-week Cascade Training Series.
“You don't have to spend a lot of money,” says Stewart. “I'd recommend a helmet and gloves.” Fellow BECU employee Brian Knollenberg, VP of Member Insights and Strategy, agrees.
“Just visit a bike shop and ask how to get started. Cycling is really popular around here, which makes it easier,” explains Knollenberg. Perhaps “popular” is an understatement – there are more than 80 bikes shops in Western Washington alone. Local government helps, too, making the two-wheeled commute more accessible with ever-increasing bike lanes. And of course, there are organizations such as the Cascade Bicycle Club.
So. You have a bike, purchased a helmet and mapped the best route on Google Maps. You even took a class with Cascade. But the real challenge remains: wearing your bike spandex into the office. “Check if there's a shower – or at the very least, a place to change,” laughs Knollenberg. Knollenberg joined the sport with his wife in 2002 as a way to stay in shape. Now, 15 years later, Knollenberg commutes from Ballard to Tukwila, riding an hour each way to work.
For Knollenberg, swapping an hour in the car for an hour on the trail is the best part of cycling. “I love the time spent on my bike, unplugging from technology that permeates all of our waking moments,” says Knollenberg. “Breathing the fresh air and enjoying the freedom of two wheels keeps me grounded. It gives me time to think about the important things in life.”
“Cycling is freedom,” agrees Stewart. “When I'm riding, I'm present in the moment – it's so worth it.”
Find more info on cycling and Bike Everywhere month on the Cascade Bicycle Club's website. Happy trails!