Teachers bike to work


With her basket full of equipment and attached to her Jamis Earth Cruiser, Joelle Newman rode about one mile to and from work in recognition of National Bike to Work Week.

Newman, who is a physical education teacher at Wrightsville Beach School, said it is important to be a role model and show exercise is important.

She said the amount of supplies and equipment teachers carry is what makes the trek on two wheels tough.

Cissie Brooks, a marine science teacher, and Sandra Roberts, a fourth-grade teacher, also participated in the week after assistant principal Dr. Emily Grace spread the word.

It was Roberts’ first time cycling to work, making a five-mile trek to and from the College Acres area to the school Tuesday and Wednesday on her specialized hybrid bicycle.

“The one thing that I enjoyed … I smelled the flowers in the morning that I normally wouldn’t smell,” Roberts said about the blooming honeysuckle.

She said the ride took her about 30 minutes, with the busiest time in the afternoon and plenty of planning in advance. She had a back-up plan in case one of the tires on her mountain bike went flat and wore a backpack filled with her phone, lunch and papers.

“I wanted to make sure that I could get there in plenty of time so that I could change,” she said.

The scariest part of the ride, she said, was crossing the Military Cutoff and Eastwood road intersection.

“It was a very nice peaceful ride,” Roberts said. “…The greenway that’s a great benefit. If I didn’t have the greenway, I might not consider it as much.”

She plans to continue to ride to work on two wheels when she can, but said she will have to think more about how she uses her time during the day without being able to carry much home after work.

Newman could only make the trip the beginning of the week, because she works at Alderman Elementary School the second half of the week. She emphasized the sense of euphoria from exercising, letting people deescalate from work before they go home.

Newman currently lives in Wrightsville Beach with her husband and three children, and has been a resident since 1994. She often runs and rides the John Nesbitt Loop with her dog and kids, where she sometimes sees students out and about.

“I usually give shout outs if I see somebody on the loop,” Newman said.

The Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization records data from the week to track participants and miles biked. While the majority of 2014 data was not yet available, 130 people registered with 40 employers represented, exceeding goals for the year. In 2013, 62 people representing 24 employers participated, with 2,039 miles biked and 102 gallons of gas saved.

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