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Vol. LIX, No. 13
June 29, 2007
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Second Year in a Row
Bike Day Doubles Attendance, Earns Regional Award

On the front page...

Despite overcast skies and threats of rain, NIH bike commuters turned out in force for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's Bike to Work Day on May 18.

With 324 registered participants, NIH hosted about 200 bike commuters at the Bicycle Commuter Club's morning festival in front of Bldg. 1; around 100 more celebrated at the Rockledge and Executive Blvd. offices. The three NIH pit stops together welcomed more participants than most of WABA's city pit stops. Only the Freedom Plaza, Reston and Vienna pit stops had higher attendance than NIH. Across the region, more than 6,600 people biked to work that day.

The strong showing-more than double the 135 NIH cyclists who registered for the event last year-allowed the club to defend its 2006 title for the highest employee participation in the event among Washington, D.C.-area employers from the Metropolitan Council of Governments.

Continued...


  NIH deputy director Dr. Norka Ruiz Bravo displays event T-shirt, which she earned by pedaling from Takoma Park.  
  NIH deputy director Dr. Norka Ruiz Bravo displays event T-shirt, which she earned by pedaling from Takoma Park.  
NHGRI had the highest institute participation rate, while NCI won the prize for the highest cumulative bike-commuting mileage. Institute directors Drs. Francis Collins and Niederhuber will each be awarded one $50 Bike Bucks note, which may be given to a staff member to spend at Proteus Bicycles, and an NIH bike club cycling jersey, featuring the club's new lgo.

Maggie Beddall of NIMH recruited IC directors for the inaugural NIH inter-institute challenge on behalf of the club to ride for the day and recruit other staff to join them. Collins, Niederhuber, Dr. Duane Alexander of NICHD and Dr. Richard Hodes of NIA took her up on the challenge by sending emails encouraging their employees to participate in the event.

The friendly competition didn't stop club members from collaborating to orchestrate group rides to show new bike commuters time-honored safe routes to their NIH destinations. NHGRI's Peter Chines coordinated group bicycle-caravans from several community checkpoints. Also heading group rides were Diane Bolton of NIAID, Steve Friedman of NCI, Tom Gill of OD, Marc Gwadz of NLM, David Hurwitz of NLM, Nick Jakubovics of NIDCR, Sandra Menzies of OD, John Pugh of CSR, Lisa Vasquez of NCI and Al Yergey of NICHD.

  Mary Lilly, an investigator at NICHD, rides to campus with her 4-year-old daughter Sarah Kuziora.
  Mary Lilly, an investigator at NICHD, rides to campus with her 4-year-old daughter Sarah Kuziora.
CSR's Jonathan Ivins commuted a staggering 71-mile total on Bike to Work Day, participating in multiple NIH convoys and pedaling through several WABA pit stops. But even shorter commutes add up. According to club estimates, NIH bike commuters accumulated 3,184 miles for the day, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 3,200 pounds.

Once bikers arrived at their NIH pit stop and grabbed a cup of coffee and breakfast food, they could also win a prize in a bike-themed raffle, pick up free WABA T-shirts, buy customized NIHBCC jerseys, register to participate in the club's Bike Bucks program and exchange information with other cyclists. City Bikes mechanic Paul Reighard provided free bike checks and tune-ups to bike commuters. Patty Yergey distributed water bottles and stickers on behalf of the Chesepeake Bay Foundation to emphasize the connection between greener commuting and a healthier environment.

  Mary Lilly, an investigator at NICHD, rides to campus with her 4-year-old daughter Sarah Kuziora.
NIH Bicycle Commuter Club President Angela Atwood-Moore (l), a research associate in the Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Development, NICHD, and Jill DiMauro, owner of Proteus Bikes, hold a blender with iced coffee steady while co-owner Yo Kumm pedals a bike-powered blender. Atwood-Moore wore and distributed the club's first specially designed jerseys, which designate cyclists as "non-polluter commuters."
NIHBCC President Angela Atwood-Moore, a research associate in the Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Development, NICHD, said she was "ecstatic to see a long line and a giant crowd of cyclists all huddled onto the patio in front of Bldg. 1. I think we sent a message to the NIH community that we're here and that bike commuting can be fun!"

Sanford Markey, a senior investigator with NIMH, has biked to work for 30 of the 33 years he has worked at NIH. "Once you start biking, you don't want to drive again, knowing that you could get there on a bike," said Nicki Devore, who works for FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research on NIH's campus. "It's better for the gas bill, the environment and your health."

Several NIH'ers regularly make bike commuting a family affair. Mary Lilly, an investigator in NICHD, rides in with her 4-year-old daughter Sarah Kuziora, who attends day care at Parents of Preschoolers, Inc. Giovanni Cardone, a postdoctoral visiting fellow at NIAMS, brings his 22-month-old daughter Maria with him to campus by bike.

Ava Asher, an NIAID fellow, demonstrated her dedication to bike commuting by making her regular commute from Van Ness even though her tires went flat the night before and again at the end of her commute. "I found a way to commute by bike that avoids any traffic," she said, noting that it takes her the same amount of time to commute by bike as it does to take public transportation.

  Mary Lilly, an investigator at NICHD, rides to campus with her 4-year-old daughter Sarah Kuziora.  
A line of bike commuters waiting to check-in at the welcome tent in front of Bldg. 1 stretches down the sidew  
NCI's Friedman, deputy chief of the Protocol and Information Office in the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, feels that everyone should give bike commuting a try because of the positive contribution it makes to the environment and health. "We within the federal government should be leaders in that area," he said.

For more information about bike commuting, including routes, club mentors' contact information, a list of NIH shower, locker and parking facilities and a moderated list-serve where members can ask questions and share information, visit www.recgov.org/r&w/nihbike/. NIH Record Icon

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