Topics: Human Resources, Sustainability/Environment

May 6, 2008

With gas prices nearing $4 a gallon, saving money is an obvious reason Ball State employee Marcus Jackman rides his bike to and from work every day.

"The other key benefit I think about is finding one way I can decrease my contribution to pollution," said Jackman, general manager of Indiana Public Radio.

Organizers of Ball State's Bike to Work Day May 16 hope Jackman is joined by dozens of other university employees wanting to do their part to save money, help the environment and get fit during May's National Bike Month. This year marks the 50th observance of the month as recognized by The League of American Bicyclists.

Patricia Hollingsworth, manager of Ball State's health enhancement programs, said employees' observing Bike to Work Day is a win-win scenario. "Employees are biking to work for a number of reasons: sustainability, financial savings and their health among them. We encourage everyone to bike to work or try cycling for fun, fitness or transportation."

To encourage employees to get on their bikes, supervisors may approve a casual dress day May 16. If more professional attire is necessary, showers and locker rooms can be found in Ball and Irving Gymnasiums.

Hollingsworth and her staff have provided information, including locations of bike racks on campus, on Ball State's Working Well Web site, Anthony Reis, an employee of Kirk's Bike Shop, will offer bike tune-up and maintenance tips during an on-campus presentation from noon to 12:30 p.m. May 8 in Teachers College, Room 112. 

Hollingsworth said she has seen more students, faculty and staff take to their bikes to commute around campus as the cost of fuel escalates. One of those riders is Steve Jones, director of Ball State's Center for Information and Communication Sciences.

Jones sold one of his vehicles more than a year ago before working abroad in Australia. When he came back to campus last June, he continued biking to work, having never purchased a replacement vehicle.

"The cost savings my wife and I realized having two cars instead of three (we have two driving daughters) on insurance, maintenance and fuel is easily calculated into the thousands of dollars over the past 10 months," he said.

And, as Jones has discovered, riding his bike-even during the middle of winter-is a great way to relieve stress. "A silent ride really clears my brain on the way home," he said. "And getting a good parking space in front of the office, well, that rocks too."