The moment you’ve all been waiting for! The winner of this year’s grand prize for Bike to Work Day, a free night at the Radisson Red is… Laura Grunloh! Laura works at the Department of Natural Resources and she is very resourceful indeed, especially when it comes to bike commuting. Read below to find out more about our winner, including what she had to say about overcoming barriers and getting inspired to bike to work.
Move Minnesota: How did you get into bike commuting?
LG: I have been a bus and bike commuter since I moved to Minneapolis in 2001. When I started working in St. Paul, I thought my 13 mile commute from Columbia Heights would be too far. I thought about biking to work but never thought through what my barriers actually were until there were promotions about Bike to Work Day this year.
Move Minnesota: What inspired you to participate in BTWD 2018?
LG: A close colleague was involved in promoting the event and asked me and my boss if we were interested. She told us about the meet up groups that were gathering in different parts of the city to ride together to Union Depot. One of the gathering places was near my boss’s house. She asked if I would want to meet her there and ride together. It sounded like a fun adventure so I took the opportunity to really think about what it would take for me to feel comfortable with biking to work. One barrier was that I was afraid I would get lost, so I bought a GPS mount for my handlebars so I could follow the map when I was still learning the route. I was also encouraged by knowing my boss supported participating in Bike to Work Day, and that there was social support along the way at the meet up routes. I was more encouraged to participate because I knew I would be part of a group.
Move Minnesota: Has your commute mode changed since BTWD? What motivates you to keep riding?
LG: After the event, my boss and I had a good time talking about our plans to continue biking to work, and I was excited that she was so supportive. I have now biked to work at least two days a week since Bike to Work Day and plan to keep up with it until the cold weather comes. What I enjoy most is that I get to spend more time outside enjoying our summer weather. It’s also a perk that my bike commute can be more direct so it’s actually faster than riding the bus! It’s fun to learn about all the trails throughout the cities too. I learn about a new trail almost every week when I am trying to figure out how to bike from one place to another, when I would usually take the bus. There are so many wood-covered areas in the metro that I didn’t know about!
I very much appreciate all the people that worked together to create St. Paul’s Bike to Work Day and to improve the bike ability in St. Paul. It has changed my commute for good and helped me realize that there are simple things we all can do to help others reduce barriers if they want to bike to work too.