From: Denver Brown, PA-C
Family medicine at Winona Health
The air is crisp and there is some light fog and frosty ground as I walk my bike out of the garage and turn on my headlamp. It’s quiet except for the chirping of birds and a dog barking in the distance. I hear the satisfying “clink” of my shoes securing into my pedals. The air is fresh with the smell of spring and even though I feel a bit sleepy, the thought of a bike ride to work is energizing.
I started my journey as a commuter by bike as a student at Winona State when I brought my specialized 10-speed to get to and from classes and avoid the cost and hassle of parking. I quickly found that it was actually faster than getting around campus in any other way. I unfortunately discovered the corrosive properties of salt during the winter months and the bike was eventually retired.
During medical school in Iowa City, I quickly found that biking was again the most efficient way to get around. I recall leaving the building where I was studying with classmates and biking two miles to a local restaurant. I arrived 20 minutes before my classmates who drove and needed to find parking — and was happy to tell them about it!
While on my way to clinical rotations in Webster City, Iowa, I was involved in a car accident. My vehicle was totaled and my bike (on a rear bike rack) flew off in the crash and landed 100 feet from the car. I was thankful to be unharmed and excited to find my faithful bike to be in working order. It was my only mode of transportation for the next month.
My family moved to Winona in winter 2016. One of our (soft) criteria for a house to purchase was being able to bike to work. We were grateful to find a home five miles from Winona Health and on the route of the Lake Winona trail system. I look forward to spring when I have a way to build regular physical activity into my day in an enjoyable way. Biking has also been a therapeutic way for me to handle the stresses of work and a time to recalibrate before getting home. I look forward to seeing the sun rise over the valley in a way that gets missed with the driving commute. Winona is a great city to bike — from commuting on the lake trails to the single track at Hozinger Lodge Trails.
I have found a bike commute to be one of the simple joys in life and hope to do it as long as I am able!
If you haven’t tried biking, or it’s been a long time since you’ve experienced the feeling of cruising along on your bike, I encourage you to brush up on the biking rules of the road, get the appropriate safety gear (a helmet for sure), hop on a bike and enjoy the ride.