On a warm, breezy afternoon on March 4, 2016, nearly 140 people gathered in Central Park for the 2nd Annual Group Ride in celebration of Bike to Work Day in Winter Park. Representing nearly two dozen organizations, the flotilla of colorful bikes and riders caravanned through some of Winter Park’s most beautiful neighborhoods. The four-mile route took riders along lakes and canals and past homes and parks.
“We were able to experience the breathtaking beauty of Winter Park while having meaningful conversations about alternative transportation,” said Micki Meyer, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Rollins College. “Healthy Central Florida and the City of Winter Park organized an incredible event that inspired many of us to think about our health and the environment. Plus it was fun!”
Some biked to work and then rode to the afternoon event, like Jamie Krzeminski, an engineer who lives in Winter Park and frequently rides to his office in downtown Orlando. Others brought their bikes on car racks and some even rode SunRail to the event.
Another rider echoed the theme of fun. “Biking may be healthy and green, but it’s also just plain fun,” said David Erne, in finance at Bonnier Corporation and chairman of the Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Board for the City of Winter Park, which co-sponsored the event with Healthy Central Florida. “It makes you feel like a kid again!”
Bike Friendly Company Challenge
Many riders participated in Bike to Work Day as part of a company/organization team. Winning this year’s title as the most Bike-Friendly Company, by virtue of having the most riders is…Rollins College!
In addition to bragging rights, Rollins won a catered, healthy breakfast for up to 30 people and will be featured in an ad in the Winter Park Maitland Observer – as a Bike Friendly Company. The new president of Rollins College, Grant Cornwell, was unable to ride with the Rollins team, but his wife, Peg, was happy to substitute. She said she rides her bike almost daily around Winter Park and loves the warm weather (having recently relocated from Ohio).
Although Bike to Work Day is over, residents are encouraged to keep riding. Many workplaces observe “Casual Friday” – Healthy Central Florida suggests building on the momentum of Bike to Work Day and continuing bike commuting at area workplaces. This is a great time to join the healthy, green movement and it could also save time and money by forfeiting gym workouts.
Healthy Central Florida will continue to feature inspiring bike commuter stories on its website. Click here to view past profiles, including that of Travis Martin who bikes 32 miles round-trip daily from Dr. Phillips to the Winter Park Whole Foods.
Congratulations to Rollins College and to all the riders. And special thanks to the City of Winter Park, the Winter Park Police Department and Fire Department, and to Park Social for hosting the after-party and social gathering.