Janesville77°

For some, two-wheel travel is the only way

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
May 12, 2010
— Next week is “Bike-to-Work Week” in Janesville.

For Steve Dean, that’s every week.


Every day—in the cold of winter and heat of summer—Dean stuffs his laptop computer into his backpack and climbs on his vintage maroon Schwinn. His only decision is whether to leave his bike at home because of bad weather.


The Janesville Velo Club and the Rock Trail Coalition are urging people to ride their bikes to work May 17-21, and the Janesville City Council declared the week “Bike-to-Work Week.”


Dean said biking to work and errands is something he’s always done. He rode his bike to school, and he and his family moved near his jobs so he could bike to work.


Dean, who owns Mocha Moment, located the business near his South Walnut Street home—“about one and one-tenths miles”—or a five-minute commute. He figures that’s about the time it takes to warm up a car in winter. The grocery store is 0.7 miles.


“It’s actually less hassle,” Dean said. “You don’t get cold in five minutes.”


Dean, 56, owned the same blue 10-speed bike for 28 years until it was stolen two years ago. He bought his new 1970s-era bike from a guy who fixes bikes down the block.


He figures he bikes about 70 miles a week. He and his wife, Kathy, on a recent night rode their bikes downtown to meet friends.


The couple raised five children with one vehicle. Their children rode bikes to work, too.


Dean said his family has saved thousands of dollars by owning only one vehicle.


Today, they own a truck.


Rather, “Kathy has a truck,” Dean said. “She let’s me use it when I need it.”


A few snowflakes or a drizzle don’t deter him. Ice, snow accumulation or heavy downpours are the only things that stop him.


Once, he got caught in a downpour while running errands downtown and waited 45 minutes in the Bad Brad’s entryway before he finally called Kathy to come pick up him and his bike.


Because he rides his bicycle, Dean doesn’t have to go to a gym to work out.


“Philosophically, my life is pretty well thought out,” Dean said.


“I think my life is less complicated, living close to work and having only one vehicle to take care of.


“It saves me money,” Dean said.


“It makes me healthier.


“It’s good for the environment.


“I just ride,” he said.


“That’s what I do.”


How to take part

What: Bike-to-Work Week


When: May 17-21


Sponsors: Janesville Velo Club and the Rock Trail Coalition


Why: To promote biking as a part of a healthy lifestyle and as an alternative to vehicles. Bike-to-Work week coordinator Dan Hartung said bike riding is fun, healthy, green, less expensive, saves energy, reduces traffic and pollution.


Kick-off: Saturday at the Janesville Farmer’s Market, where club members will have a tent with literature, information and registration materials. Michael’s Cycles will check bikes for safety. Wrap-up will be Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. in Palmer Park.


More information: To register, visit veloclub.org/btww or call (608) 352-0650. E-mail biketoworkjanesville@gmail.com.

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