Take a Time Machine to Work

I hope the nice weather and this guest blog post by Bike Fed Member Dale Gavney will inspire newbies and  seasonal bike commuters to start pedaling to work. Dale lives on Madison’s east side and commutes 9 miles each way to the American Family Insurance Company headquarters via bike paths and bike lanes. American Family is a very bike friendly business, with covered bike racks, lockers, showers and even bike paths on the property. 
The 2013 Wisconsin Bike Challenge is already tracking miles in warm-up mode and every mile counts beginning May 1. Register for the Challenge here to help Wisconsin reach 3 million miles this year. And check our Bike to Work Week pages for information on fun events near you May 13-17.

My Bike is a Time Machine by Dale Gavney


I get to work and home again most days on a time machine – my bicycle.

This is a slice in time I prefer not to revisit for a while.

First, my bike saves me time. By overlapping my commute time with my workout time, I save time and get more exercise.  I get about 90 minutes of exercise on each day I take my bike to and from work.  A commute to American Family by car from my neighborhood is about 60 minutes per day round trip.  So if I had a 90 min. workout and a 60 min. commute, that would be a 2/3 increase in overall time spent for the same exercise impact.  How’s that for quantifiable impact!

Also, because my commute and exercise are integrated into my day, so for me, it’s simply more likely to happen.

Second, my bike gives me time. Being on a bike twice a day gives me more time outside, feeling the sun (or rain) on my skin, smelling the grass, the trees, or the farmers’ fields.  I hear the birds and the frogs when they’re singing.  Working inside as most of us do, this time outside is precious to me.

Also, if you practice mindfulness or other kinds of meditation, then you know that being attuned to your senses is important.  Being on a bike is like a gold mine for the senses.

I also get more time to connect to others.  On a bike, it’s easy to pull over and chat to anyone – friends in the neighborhood, a fellow biker with a flat tire.  Over the past year, I’ve made friends with a crossing guard I see every day on the way in.

My bike itself is from another time.  Heavy and solid, with a ride smoother than a Cadillac, my solid Reagan-era mountain bike is “More Harley Davidson than Trek” according to the guy who sold it to me.

Finally, my bike takes me back in time by literally making me younger!  Well, not literally, but my rides can change my appetite to be more in line with a person half my age.  On really challenging days, where the wind is strong or snow is on the ground, I get an awesome workout and lots of fresh air.  On those days, my appetite is astounding – it makes me feel like I’m 20 again.

And on those nights, I’m asleep in no time.

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

3 thoughts on “Take a Time Machine to Work

  1. Clear and concise. You testify wonderfully to the selfish pleasures of biking, sparing us any sanctimony. Sadly, my commute is only 3 miles, but I’m grateful for that small, daily adventure. Thank you for this fine piece of writing and for the photo of your faithful companion.

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