Commute By Bike

In honor of Bike to Work Day, we caught up with two NC State employees who use a bicycle as their main form of transportation to and from campus. Mike Kennon (Assistant Transportation Director for Planning and Operations) and Tom Skolnicki (University Landscape Architect) share their daily commute.

When did you start biking to work?

Mike: I started biking to work spring 2018. I try to bike at least twice a week, but as many days as I can, depending on my daily calendar and weather.

Tom: I have been biking to work since I started working at NC State. I grew up riding my bike around the Pittsburgh suburbs to get where I wanted to go, so biking as transportation might be part of my DNA.

What is the best/worst part of biking to work?

Mike: The best part of biking to work is the relaxation of riding. The morning exercise refreshes me; much better than just a jolt of caffeine. In the afternoons, the ride gives me time to work out any stress before getting home. The only drawback is watching for afternoon thunderstorms when it’s time to head home. It is great to check the weather radar before leaving the office.

Tom: Riding my bike to work lets me use it for on-campus transportation.  I find my bike is the fastest way for me to get across campus to meetings. The worst part of riding to work?  Cold, cloudy days are a challenge to get on the bike in the morning.

What’s something you learned from biking to work?

Mike: Raleigh has the most amazing greenways. I found a route from my neighborhood to Gorman Street totally on trails.

Tom: I see things that I overlook when I’m driving on the same route.  I’ve learned that there is more diversity of nature than I would expect in the neighborhoods north of campus.  

What tips do you have for someone who wants to start biking to work?

Mike: Please ride with a helmet! Plan your trip with Google Maps. In bike mode, you can see where the hills are. Also, check out resources such as the City of Raleigh Greenway and Bike maps.

Tom: Look for a route that you are comfortable with (bike lanes or sharrows provide visual reminders to motorists to expect bike riders on that route).  Make sure drivers in cars can see you. Try to make eye contact with motorists at intersections, and use good front and rear lights if you’ll be travelling at dusk or before/after dark. Also, remember the law of gross tonnage.  Cars are bigger and heavier! Don’t challenge drivers even when you have the right of way.

Interested in trying a bike commute? NC State Transportation has resources for cycling commuters, including an alternative transportation incentive program called Wolftrails. There are also shower facilities on campus, bike lockers, bike racks on Wolfline buses and more to support campus cyclists.