Michael Laramee, PT, is a Physical Therapist at the University of Vermont Medical Center, Shepardson 2 Outpatient Clinic.

Michael Laramee, PT, is a Physical Therapist at the University of Vermont Medical Center, Shepardson 2 Outpatient Clinic.

We have just learned of some wonderful news: The League of American Bicyclists recognized the University of Vermont Medical Center with a Bronze level Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) award for leading America toward a more sustainable future.

I have been biking to work for the past three years. It’s a great way to start the day, the equivalent to that third cup of coffee to get my day started. Bicycling to work is an excellent way for our employees to stay fit and bring a message of health and well-being to the workplace each day.

We’re lucky that the UVM Medical Center encourages bicycling as an easy option for commuting.

I live in Burlington, so my ride is about two miles. It’s actually the fastest way for me to commute to work as I don’t need to find parking, ride a shuttle, or coordinate with the bus schedule.  One nice benefit is the proximity of the bike racks. You get to park right outside the door and be at your desk in just a few minutes.

Join me and bike to work! Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Manage your expectations. With all new activity, set an attainable goal. Commit to once a week for a month and see how it feels. You will be surprised at how it can fit it into your life.
  • Don’t worry about gear or equipment. One of my favorite bikes is a 1970s 10- speed. Just make sure that the gears and tires are good so that you don’t get discouraged by malfunctioning equipment.
  • Safety first.  Wear a helmet and clothing so drivers can see you. In the winter, lights and reflective gear are a must. If you are biking this winter, it will be dark on your way home. Get some reflectors, a red tail light, and a white head light so drivers can see you. (UVM Medical Center employees can buy a high-quality bike light set and a Local Motion introductory membership at Skirack for just $15 (see here). CATMA also has blinkie reflectors/flashlight/keychains available for free, which employees can request by email at catma@uvm.edu or call us at 656-RIDE. Both of these offers available while supplies last.)
  • Avoid excuses. Yes, it is too hot/cold, windy, sunny, wet, far, or short. Yes, you will have bad hair when you get here and you might break a sweat. Vermont is a wonderful place to live and these can also be some of the joys of riding in.
  • Worried about showering? Over 85 percent of people who bike to work or school said they don’t shower at their destinations. Most erase odor by simply toweling off and changing into fresh clothes. If you want to feel even cleaner, sponge off and apply talcum powder.

We will have access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance from the League to make biking even better at the University of Vermont Medical Center. When our employees bike, great things happen: i.e. decreased carbon foot print, reduced heath care costs, connected to community, a fun and healthy work culture.

In addition to the amenities available, the UVM Medical Center’s membership with CATMA (Campus Area Transportation Management Association) provides incentives, education and resources for all modes. Employees are also eligible to receive $15 gift cards to Burlington businesses simply for biking or walking to and from work.

See you on the road!

Michael Laramee, PT, is a Physical Therapist at the University of Vermont Medical Center, Shepardson 2 Outpatient Clinic. 

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