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Vol. LXI, No. 12
June 12, 2009
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County Council Honors Bike Club
High Turnout for Bike to Work Day


Montgomery County councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg (second from l) presents an award to (from l) Joseph Cox of the NIH Division of Amenities and Transportation Services; Angela Atwood-Moore, NIHBCC president; Randy Schools, president of the NIH Recreation and Welfare Association; and Ellen Condon, a research technologist and NIHBCC member.
Montgomery County councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg (second from l) presents an award to (from l) Joseph Cox of the NIH Division of Amenities and Transportation Services; Angela Atwood-Moore, NIHBCC president; Randy Schools, president of the NIH Recreation and Welfare Association; and Ellen Condon, a research technologist and NIHBCC member.

The week of May 11 was a busy one for the NIH Bicycle Commuter Club. Friday, May 15 was Bike to Work Day. NIH had 577 registered participants for 2009—an increase from 2008’s 465 registered riders. This earned the club its fourth consecutive win in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ award for area employer with the most employees participating.

But the week also included perhaps the largest honor in the club’s 29-year history. On May 12, the Montgomery County Council presented NIHBCC with a proclamation honoring the group’s contributions to the health and welfare of the community. The award notes that the club doubled its membership from 4 years ago, received the MWCOG award for the past 3 years and established the Bike Bucks program to encourage and reward bike commuting. Between the start of the Bike Bucks program on Jan. 1, 2007, and Mar. 31, 2009, 171 participants have logged 137,452 miles of biking to work and received 6,680 Bike Bucks.

Cyclists (from l) Sarah Dunsmore of NIGMS, Terry Bowers of the NIH Fitness Center and Atwood-Moore of NICHD (holding her daughter Sofiya) welcome arriving riders.

Hugh McFarland of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research wears a T-shirt noting that he is “one less car.”

Cyclists (from l) Sarah Dunsmore of NIGMS, Terry Bowers of the NIH Fitness Center and Atwood-Moore of NICHD (holding her daughter Sofiya) welcome arriving riders.

Hugh McFarland of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research wears a T-shirt noting that he is “one less car.”

Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg presented the award to Angela Atwood-Moore, president of the NIHBCC. Trachtenberg in 2007 helped expand membership of the pedestrian and bicycle safety advisory committee to include a seat for a representative of the bicycle community—the first time cycling advocates were recognized by a county-sponsored body. She said she was impressed by the NIHBCC’s work in identifying unmet or underserved needs of bicycle commuters and stepping forward with innovative solutions including cleaning and maintaining bike trails in the vicinity of NIH’s campus, mentoring prospective bicycle commuters, providing bicycle education and maintenance courses and advocating for improved bicycle facilities and policies both within NIH and the community.

The club displayed the award proclamation at the Bike to Work Day pit stop in front of Bldg. 1. The NIHBCC also operated two other pit stops at Rockledge and Executive Blvd. Regionally, more than 8,000 people registered for the 2009 event, which set a new record, according to the Washington Area Bicyclists Association, which sponsors BTWD.

This year, NIHBCC welcomed cyclists from National Naval Medical Center to the Bldg. 1 pit stop. The collaboration comes in light of NNMC’s expansion, which is expected to add up to 2,500 staff and almost 2,000 more outpatient appointments and other visitors per day by 2011. This is on top of a road system that already earns failing grades for congestion and has some of the worst intersections in the county within a mile of NIH.

Renee Hill of NINDS and her 11-year-old daughter Jabraughn.   Former NIH employee William Sanslone.
Renee Hill of NINDS and her 11-year-old daughter Jabraughn turned the event into a day together. Although they live too far to bike commute, they drove to a colleague’s home and pedaled the rest of the way. “We decided to come to Bike to Work Day instead of participating in her school’s field day. We’re really excited about being here, and we’re going to hit the path and enjoy the beautiful day,” Hill said.  

Former NIH employee William Sanslone, still riding during retirement, arrived at the Executive Blvd. pit stop with a 49-year-old Raleigh British bicycle, the oldest 2-wheeler at the pit stop.

Photo: Lisa Finkelstein

 

Stephanie Petzing, a student at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences on the NNMC campus, commuted by bike for the first time and was pleased to hear of NIHBCC’s resources and mentoring efforts for Navy cyclists. “I would love to bike commute every day, but if I could be in a bike lane, it would be so much easier. Sometimes cars don’t see you at the intersections, even as a pedestrian,” she said, adding a message for drivers to both campuses: “Please don’t scrape me off of your bumper on Wisconsin!”

According to Atwood-Moore, cooperation between NIH and Navy cyclists will be an important issue for the NIHBCC for the next 2 years. “While we’re working to develop solutions to traffic congestion, air pollution and obesity in our communities locally and nationally, we cannot ignore safety provisions for cyclists and we must work harder to improve amenities for those who make the sacrifice to ride instead of drive,” she said.

The total round-trip miles logged by bike on May 15 to NIH locations was 3,571, compared with 2,966 in 2008. With the recognition from the County Council and cooperation between NIH and Navy cyclists to replace cars on the road with bikes in anticipation of expansion, the NIHBCC is on a roll. NIHRecord Icon

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