Two Kent State Professors Bike Three Hours to Work to Mark National Bike to Work Day
Kent State University College of Nursing professors Peggy Doheny, Ph.D., and Ann Jacobson, Ph.D., rode their bicycles to work on Friday, May 18, to mark National Bike to Work Day. Doheny and Jacobson, both in their 60s, rode about 30 miles to work in Kent, Ohio, from Jacobson’s home in South Russell, Ohio.
National Bike to Work Day, a yearly event since 1956, was established by the League of American Bicyclists to promote bicycling to work as a healthy and safe alternative to driving. The event also promotes bicycle safety. In conjunction with National Bike to Work Day, Kent State joined in an effort to be “fuel-less” by encouraging its employees to participate in Fuel-Less Friday on May 18 by walking, riding a bike, riding public transit or carpooling to work or campus.
Doheny and Jacobson rode about three hours to get to work at Kent State – a distance they could easily have covered in 45 minutes by car. The ride took them along several bike trails, including the Head Water Trail in Mantua and the Portage Hike and Bike Trail in Portage County.
During their ride to work on May 18, both professors reminisced about past rides and took in the sights along the bike route. This year, Jacobson is trying out an iPhone app that records her distances and times using GPS technology.
Doheny, who rides about 2,000 miles a year, considers biking to be a great way to be in touch with nature and see the countryside; something she says cannot be experienced in a car.
“I like to bike and it is always fun to have a destination,” Doheny says. “Biking to Work Day on May 18 is one way to exercise, and is a great way to avoid the commuter traffic and stay in shape.”
“Biking is my favorite way to relax and enjoy life,” Jacobson says. “It is a healthy stress reliever, and I would definitely encourage others to bike to work, particularly if there are showers and places to secure the bike at the destination.”
Kent State has several bike racks across the campus, and Gretchen Julian, director of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center at Kent State, offered the center’s facilities on May 18 to anyone wanting to shower after riding their bike to work.
“We were happy to let the bike-to-work participants use the recreational center for showers,” Julian says. “It is just one small way we can show our support for the biking initiative.”
In warm weather, Jacobson bikes four to five days a week. Although she has biked several times to Kent, she had always wanted to do it on National Bike to Work Day, but it never worked out well with her schedule before now.
“I took those trips before Google Bike Maps came into being and had to do a segment on State Route 43 South, which is a nightmare,” Jacobson says. “But, thanks to Google Bike Maps, we had a route that circumvents 43 and will actually have us on a bike path.”
Doheny, who has worked at Kent State for 35 years, will be retiring this summer, and biking, she says, will be part of her retirement plans. She has ridden in the MS 150 Pedal to the Point, the annual ride in support of Multiple Sclerosis, for the last 17 years and plans to continue to participate to support the cause. Doheny says she has had wonderful support for her rides over the years from her colleagues at Kent State’s College of Nursing.
“I am planning to go to South Africa with my son and husband in June, and I also have several local bike rides planned over the summer,” Doheny says. “One ride my husband designed is what he calls the ‘Tour de Cleveland,’ which is a great tour to appreciate the history of Cleveland.”
Doheny and Jacobson will continue to share their love for biking even after Doheny retires. Both plan to participate in bike rides together with their families.
“She will leave a huge void,” Jacobson says. “I am sorry to see her go and wish her much happiness in this next chapter of her life. I will see her during our annual Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure ride in June, an event that Peggy introduced my family and me to 10 years ago. This will be the 10th anniversary ride for my husband and me. I have Peggy and her husband to thank for planning trips involving many happy miles on the bike in downtown Cleveland, the towpath, the Vermont countryside and more.”
For more information about National Bike to Work Day, visit the League of American Bicyclists website at www.bikeleague.org.
For more information about Kent State’s College of Nursing, visit www.kent.edu/nursing.