Registration will open soon for the 2012 Good To Go Commuter Challenge, May 12-18. The Challenge is a friendly competition between individuals, teams and workplaces. During the week-long challenge, participants track and report their sustainable commutes online; anything counts except driving alone. Learn more about the Challenge. Thanks to Danny Hajek and photographer Karen Hanrahan for making this series of interviews with sustainable commuters possible.
Prior to this year’s Challenge, the Good To Go Blog is bringing you a series of interviews with commuters who choose to get around sustainably year round. With rising gas prices we hope that you join them for at least the week of the challenge to save a few bucks and we hope you’ll find it’s not as hard as you might think. In the second interview in this series, GLT’s Danny Hajek spoke with Patrick Dullard, Premium Audit Supervisor at Country Financial in Bloomington.
Patrick Dullard: I’m a bicycle commuter so I ride to work every day year round. I probably get in about 200 days a year.
Danny Hajek: How long have you been doing that?
PD: I’ve been doing that four years now, dedicated.
DH: Wow. Two-hundred days a year! What’s the worst weather condition you’ve biked through?
PD: Blizzard. One day I had rode in to work and it was okay. That night or that afternoon a storm kind of blew in and I still had to make it home and I guess I could’ve called for a ride, but tried it. And I would say it was probably in the single digits and blowing and storming pretty hard. I’m not the brightest or not the most safe sometimes.
DH: I’d say you’re adventurous.
PD: Yeah, there you go.
DH: If someone came up to you at Country or one of your neighbors told you they were considering sustainable transportation to and from work, what advice would you give that person to help them make that first step?
PD: I would say you know, hey, ride in on Saturday when you don’t have any pressure to get to work on time. Just take your ride on a Saturday, how long would it take me? You know it does take a little bit of time commitment but you’re also coupling that with some other part of your lifestyle like exercise so you’re not really losing that time. There’s a benefit for it. And it’s more about just getting started and trying it. And you build on that and you feel good about it and you say okay I did it today, I think I’ll go ahead and try that tomorrow. One thing where people ‘oh I could never do that cause I wouldn’t feel clean’ or whatever and really I think if they got started they would really understand it really isn’t that bad. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is once you get started and wearing decent gear you can dress for almost anything.
DH: You say you never ride without a helmet. You wear a reflective vest, a pair of gloves, goggles and you’ve outfitted your bike with front and back lights. So even during the winter when your commute back home is in the dark, you’re still out there riding your bike, saving a little money and keeping active.
PD: Yeah, you get to a point where if you’re not riding you’re missing it.
DH: What’s your favorite part of your ride?
PD: I’m fortunate that most of my ride is on the trail. And you know I just enjoy the serenity. I’ve gotten to see people where I don’t really know their names but we pass a lot and there’s a hello and you see familiar faces and that’s kind of neat to see too.
Patrick Dullard works at Country Financial in Bloomington. Join Patrick on the Constitution Trail during your commute to work, take the bus, or carpool and participate in the 2012 Good To Go Commuter Challenge May 12-18. If Patrick can ride year round, can you try it for a week? Everyone who logs at least one sustainable commute during the challenge is eligible for a drawing for a $200 Visa gift card. Learn more and register for the challenge now.
The Good To Go Blog is administered by Mike McCurdy, WGLT Program Director and co-coordinator of the sustainable transportation project Good To Go. The Commuter Challenge is May 12-18. Danny Hajek and photographer Karen Hanrahan helped make this series of sustainable commuter interviews possible. Hear an audio version and see a schedule of upcoming interviews at the WGLT website.