NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NIH Once Again Earns Bike to Work Honors

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A group photo
At the presentation are (from l) Sean Cullinane, quality assurance specialist, Division of Amenities and Transportation Services (DATS), NIH Office of Research Services (ORS); Tim Tosten, ORS associate director of program and employee services; Colleen McGowan, ORS director; Nicholas Ramfos, director of transportation operations programs, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments; Dr. Alfred Johnson, NIH deputy director for management; Tammie Edwards, DATS director; and Collin Browne, communications director, Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

Photo:  Eric Bock

NIH won the 2023 Bike to Work Day (BTWD) Employer Challenge for being the organization with the most participants biking to work in the Washington, D.C. area. 

“NIH serves as an example for other employers in the region and you’ve done that for years,” said Nicholas Ramfos, director, Transportation Operations Programs of Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, a regional non-profit that regularly brings leaders together to develop solutions to the region’s major challenges, including better transportation.

Cullinane speaks at a podium
Sean Cullinane gives remarks at the ceremony.

He presented the first-place plaque to NIH during a recent luncheon in the Natcher Bldg. Each year, the challenge is held to encourage participation on BTWD. The top five organizations with the greatest number of bicyclists are placed into a raffle for a random chance to win a luncheon.

This year, 539 NIH’ers participated in BTWD; 184 of them were first-timers. Rounding out the top five large employers were the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense and the University of Maryland. 

In the D.C. area, more than 14,600 people stopped at one of the 107 pit stops, a 15% increase compared to last year. NIH staff stopped by 31 different pit stops, including Bldg. 1, Pike and Rose, Rockville Town Center and downtown Bethesda. Many first-time participants continue to use biking to commute after the event. 

Bicycle commuting has a lot of room to grow. According to a recent survey, 16% of area commuters live within five miles of where they work. Events like BTWD show people that pedaling to work is a realistic, fun and healthy option. 

Cox speaks at a podium
Cox gives remarks at the ceremony.

“I’m excited to win this award again,” said Joe Cox, chief of the Transportation Services Branch, Division of Amenities and Transportation Services (DATS), Office of Research Services. “We couldn’t do it without NIH leadership.”

Cox credited Ramfos for teaching him about the transportation issues facing commuters in the area. “He passed along a lot of knowledge to me about car- and vanpooling and transit subsidies,” he said. “Nick is one of the leading experts on transportation programs.”

Bicycling to work is a great form of exercise, said Dr. Alfred Johnson, NIH deputy director for management. Those who pedal to work reduce their carbon footprint and use less parking. 

Browne speaks at a podium while Ramfos looks on
Ramfos (l) and Browne salute NIH’s cyclist-friendly workplace.

The event would not have happened without the support of the NIH Bicycle Commuting Club, DATS, NIH Police, Office of Research Facilities’ Division of Environmental Protection, and the Recreation and Welfare Association, among others, Johnson noted. 

The award is presented by BTWD co-organizers, Commuter Connections, and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. To learn more about biking to work, visit https://www.nihbike.com/home.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

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Assistant Editor: Eric Bock
Eric.Bock@nih.gov (link sends e-mail)

Staff Writer: Amber Snyder
Amber.Snyder@nih.gov (link sends e-mail)