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From Workboots to Wildcats: UNH Sets Sights on Timberland's Commuter Challenge Trophy

By Beth Potier, Media Relations
May 12, 2010

L-R: Dain LaRoche (kinesiology), Jim Graham (UCM), Brent Bell (kinesiology), Beth Potier (UCM),  Josina Garnham (WSBE)

UNH will once again celebration National Bike to Work Week, starting Monday (May 17) and concluding with a Bike/Walk to Work Day commuter breakfast at the wildcat statue on Friday (May 21, 7–10 a.m.). This year, UNH employees can help the university snatch the coveted Seacoast Commuter Challenge prize (and attendant bragging rights) from perennial favorite Timberland, which claimed the trophy for large employers last year.

This year’s Bike/Walk to Work Day is being hosted by the Department of Kinesiology, with support from the Office of Sustainability, UNH Health Services, and the Town of Durham. Each group is pitching in to ensure maximum participation.

Brent Bell, assistant professor of kinesiology and an avid cyclist (and husband of this writer), anticipates about half of his colleagues will participate in Bike/Walk to Work Day. “We study kinesiology, which is the art and science of movement,” he says. “It’s only natural that we would take this opportunity to get out of our cars and enjoy the benefits of biking.” Bell will haul food and drinks for the Durham commuter breakfast with his heavy-duty bicycle trailer, which can carry up to 600 pounds.

“I have been talking up this day to friends and co-workers and posting information on the Health Services Web site and Facebook page,” says Dawn Zitney of Health Services. “And for those friends who have stated they live in Portsmouth and don’t want to bike on Route 4, I tell them to take a bus! There are many ways to participate in this day if you are unable to walk or ride a bike.”

Sara Cleaves and Brett Pasinella, both from the Office of Sustainability, also plan to hop on the bus from Dover and Portsmouth, respectively. “Bike to Work Day is important because it is about breaking the car habit. Driving is easy and habituated,” says Pasinella. “This is one day to explore another mode to see how convenient, easy, and cheap it is.”

Cleaves concurs. “ Whether you walk, bike, take the bus or train, or carpool to campus, whatever you do to get out of driving your vehicle alone helps to fight air pollution and climate change, save you money, and make for a more social and fun commuting experience,” she says.

Durham town engineer David Cedarholm is rallying his colleagues, including town manager Todd Selig and the Durham police and fire departments, to leave their cars in the garage for a day. Cedarholm plans to ride his recumbent bike in to the commuter breakfast from his home in Lee, as he does most days in good weather. 

To participate in the Corporate Challenge, come to the commuter breakfast and sign in with your total “alternative commute” mileage for the week. Those who can’t make it to the breakfast can e-mail total mileage to beth.potier@unh.edu by the end of the day Friday, May 21.

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