For the past six years, Provo Bicycle Committee has been recognizing outstanding bicycle commuters for their contributions to Provo by awarding the Golden Spoke Award. We believe in cycling as an effective and sustainable form of transportation that can help create a cleaner, healthier, and safer society.
Two years ago, we began recognizing winter bicycle commuters with the help of Canyon Bicycles, the sponsor of the winter award.
After a nomination and unanimous approval from the Provo Bicycle Committee, Josh Gubler has been chosen as the winner of the 2017 Golden Spoke Winter Bicycle Commuter Award.
Josh and his two daughters ready to embark to work and school, respectively. December 2016
One afternoon in January, while riding around town, I spotted Josh riding his bike home from work. It was probably the coldest day of the year and Josh was decked out in a full ski mask and lobster mitt gloves. Not even the snow and freezing temperatures stopped him from biking!
Since December 3, 2015, Josh has commuted by bicycle to work, often dropping his kids off at school, also on their bikes. In his nearly 15 months of bicycle commuting, Josh has saved over 1.5 tons of C02 emissions that he would have created by driving and likely burned over 90,000 calories.
After I presented the award to Josh during a city council meeting in February 2017, he told the council he started biking to save money but has found that it offers him time to relax and see the city. He encouraged citizens to help make the city a friendlier place by choosing to bike instead of drive. Doing so, he said, would reduce pollution and increase a sense of community within our neighborhoods.
The Provo Bicycle Committee would like to congratulate Josh on winning this award and showing all of us that it’s still possible –and fun–to bicycle commute during winter.
A 634 Mile, 5 & ½ Hour, Door-to-Door, LA to Provo Weekly Trek
by Plane, Train, and (Best of All) by Bike
Usually folks exclaim, “And you think your commute is bad!” and then explain how theirs is even worse. Rarely do they talk about how they enjoy their commute. Jenny Pulsipher, a history professor at Brigham Young University, does. She loves her commute. Well, that may an exaggeration. She loves the part of it on her 13” teal Trek FX3 commuter bicycle, which make the other modes—on a train and plane, which are more much more productive than if she were behind a steering wheel—bearable.
About five years ago, Jenny, who lived in Salt Lake at the time, began to commute daily to work by bike-train-bike. Instead of driving the 45 miles, she bicycled about a half hour from her home in Sugar House to the Salt Lake Central Station, took the Frontrunner commuter rail line to Provo, and then rode about 15 minutes up to BYU. In the afternoon, she did the reverse. (You can see scenes from that commute in this video produced by the BYU Theatre and Media Arts Department.)
Jenny explains why she started to make that commute from SLC to BYU by bike and train:
“First, wasting time drives me absolutely crazy. I was losing two hours a day to the commute to and from Salt Lake City. When I arrived at home, I was frazzled and behind in my work and still hadn’t exercised. By biking to and from the train station, I got good exercise, and I found that my time on the train was some of the most productive time of the day. It’s comfortable and quiet, and I quickly developed a pattern of spending the whole hour intently writing. I look forward to it, and I enjoy biking on either end.
Second, I hate driving. It’s either stressful, which makes me tense, or boring, which makes me fall asleep. I’d rather not die on the road (or kill someone else), so commuting seemed like a really good idea.
And third, I wanted my commute to be more green, particularly in the winter, when the inversion sets in.”
A couple of years ago, Jenny’s husband’s job took them to the City of Angels and she adapted and added a plane ride to her commute. Her commute, since last fall, is now:
Sunday night: Leave for Burbank airport at 3:30 PM (just 20 minutes away). Plane departs at 4:35. Arrive SLC airport at 7:30 PM, daughter or son-in-law (who live in her SLC house) pick her up and take her to her home, and then she does the bike-train-bike commute beginning Monday morning.
Monday morning: Leave LA home between 4:30 and 4:40 AM, catch ride to Union Station, take 5:00 Flyaway Bus to LAX, catch 6:15 AM flight to SLC airport, arriving at 8:45. Take TRAX Green Line to North Temple Station, take Frontrunner to Provo, fetch bike from storage locker, bike to campus.
Each week on Tuesday and Wednesday, when she teaches or has meetings, she completes her usual commute to campus and …
… at the end of her work week on Thursday afternoon, she leaves campus, bikes to Provo Frontrunner station…
…stows her Trek in the storage locker…
…takes Frontrunner to the North Temple station, takes TRAX green line to airport, takes the 8:30 PM flight to the Burbank airport, takes Lyft home, arriving about 9:30 PM.
…flies to LAX, takes the Flyaway Bus to Union Station, and takes Lyft home.
Door to door her commute from her home in LA to her BYU office or vice-versa isabout 634 Miles, 5 & ½ hours.
About her long(er) distance commute, Jenny observes:
“When we moved to LA, I decided to continue doing the commute to BYU. Certainly, it’s longer, but it’s still active work time for me, so long as I have my trusty foldable step stool with me. (It allows me to sit and work comfortably on the plane and train, by raising the angle of my extra-short legs to a good laptop level.) We got rid of one of our two cars when we moved to LA, which more than balances the expense of Frontrunner, bike maintenance, and even my weekly flights. We rely on bikes, walking and public transit in LA too. Living in LA is great as long as you stay off the freeway, so our one car mostly stays in the garage. My husband bikes to work, and we walk or take the Metro most places we go. It’s good exercise, and it saves us the hassle of trying to find parking (another challenge of living in LA).”
About her bike commute in Provo, Jenny says she appreciates the new bicycle-friendly intersection on 200 East across 300 South. Her previous route from the Frontrunner zigzagged through Provo using 200 West, Center Street, and University Avenue, and it had some gaps in bicycle facilities and safety. With the opening of the new intersection, Jenny has switched to a route using the much safer L-shaped route up and down 600 South and 200 East, which is being transformed into a bicycle boulevard and provides a great route between the Frontrunner Station and BYU and destinations in between.
Jenny said her favorite segment of her commute is definitely the bicycling portions. She gets some exercise, enjoys the fresh and sometimes frigid air, and relishes the more intimate interaction with her surroundings.
Jenny is not alone. Researchers at McGill University in Montreal (another place with frigid air!) found that bicycle commuters to campus were more likely to arrive on time AND be energized than people who used other modes of transportation. Many bicycle commuters will willingly share plenty of personal experiences that support such research.
So wherever you live, far or near, warm or cold, why don’t you try it? Like green eggs and ham, if you but try it, you will surely like it—anywhere and anytime.
Did you notice the commotion at the historic George Taylor Jr. home in downtown Provo last week? It is getting some much-needed restoration help from the non-profit Bike and Build Program. Over 28 self-funded cyclists are riding for 11 weeks and helping improve neighborhoods along the way.
“Their demolition work in Provo was different to the other 15 days of home building they take part in during the trip. Some, including Cindy Freimark, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, were quite surprised to be working on such a historic building.
‘Whoever moves in will be so lucky because it’s so beautiful,’ she said.”
A couple years ago, this historic building was slotted for demolition. But, thanks to volunteer groups like Bike and Build and Habitat for Humanity, it will be a highlight of downtown Provo in the coming weeks. Thanks for helping out with our community, Bike and Build cyclists!
To learn more about this program (and see if you might want to volunteer for an epic building ride next year), check out their facebook page and take a look at the video below: