Check us out in the Birmingham News. A photo ran in the paper as well...in a skirt of course!
I think my favorite part is the last line. Our own Anna let them know the real reason we ride to work: "And I hope to have really nice legs"
couldn't have said it better myself.
Federally-funded program pays cyclists for pedaling to workCyclists
get cash to pedal to the office instead of driving
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
News staff writer
What started out as a good-natured competition among her friends has turned into more of a way of life for Elisa Munoz.
Vowing to exercise more, Munoz pulled out her bicycle and began to research safe biking routes around Birmingham. Then she got the idea to commute to her office in Irondale - a seven-mile drive - from her home in Highland Park.
"In my car, it takes about 25 minutes to drive seven miles because of the traffic and driving through a lot of neighborhoods," she said. "It's exactly the same amount of time by bike, but I get to work feeling a lot better and not feeling like I just wasted 25 minutes of my life."
Originally, Munoz and two friends decided to get fit and keep a blog for three months to record their improvement. One chose running, the other swimming and Munoz biking.
She enjoyed bicycling so much that she set a goal to make biking her primary form of commuting by March 1. She does it about twice a week now.
"I am so much healthier and have so much more energy now," she said. "I do have to say, though, that drivers here are not biker-friendly at all. It's definitely not for the faint of heart."
Munoz actually gets paid to commute to work via bicycle through CommuteSmart Birmingham, a federally funded program that used to be known primarily for its vanpools and carpools.
Sean Saffle, project manager for CommuteSmart Birmingham, said not many people know about the biking aspect of the program.
"Only about 4 percent of the people in this program are commuting by bicycle," he said. "This city is not exactly conducive to bicycling with all the hills, but we are trying to promote it."
As part of its GetGreen program, CommuteSmart offers cash incentives of $2 per day, up to $120 over a three-month period, to those who live or work in Jefferson and Shelby counties and change their commutes from driving alone to such alternatives as a carpool, vanpool, bus or bicycle.
Anna Carrigan, who also lives in Highland Park, commuted to work via bicycle for the first time last month. She is not yet part of CommuteSmart, instead trying it for the health benefit.
It's only a three-mile ride to her work, but the hills make it a good workout, Carrigan said.
"I feel like I've accomplished something when I get to work," she said. "And I hope to have really nice legs." On the Net
CommuteSmart Birmingham: www.commutesmart.org/birmingham/index.html firstname.lastname@example.org