Michael Culp, a dedicated reader of BikeCommuters.com was in the news recently.

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I tip my cap to cyclist commuters
By Bryan McKenzie
bmckenzie@dailyprogress.com | 978-7271
Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mike Culp looks over his shoulder and grins as we gain momentum down Rose Hill Drive while he poetically waxes on the charm of sweating your way to work.

“It’s really beautiful this time of year,? he says, his voice growing fainter as he pulls farther and faster ahead until he’s too far in front to hear.

I catch up with him at a stop sign. He’s smiling. I’m wheezing.

“When the flowers bloom in the spring, it’s amazing. Some of these houses have incredible gardens. People must spend all day in them to make them look so good,? he says with great enthusiasm. “How are you doing??

I mutter something that sounds like “good? but could be interpreted as “dead? and he nods his head with a smile and pedals up the hill. I follow.

A healthy pace

Mr. Culp, 47, director of information technology for Albemarle County, is on the last leg of his 5-mile commute to work. I’m pedaling with him, behind him all the way – way behind him – as a part of National Bike-to-Work Week. We’re heading to the County Office Building’s bicycle pit stop, replete with bagels and bananas and swag for any pedal-pushing commuter who rolls by.

The county, the city of Charlottesville, Syklo Cycles and the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation sponsor the pit stop.

Mr. Culp bikes his five miles every workday. I don’t bike to work at all. We both have our reasons. For me, work is not a destination but a satellite from which I go in search of The Great Topic. It’s also tiring and I’m out of shape.

His reasons are better.

Savings at the pump

“I save a lot of gas, especially now that prices have reached the highest ever,? he says as we stop at the Rose Hill Drive and Rugby Avenue intersection. “I lived in D.C. for 15 years and I’d ride 12 miles back and forth to work. Parking is expensive and I get a little claustrophobic on the Metro. It’s also good to get some cars off the street and it’s great exercise.?

We struggle up Rose Hill to Preston Avenue. Actually, I struggle. He waits for me near the top. I tell him I’m trying to make him overconfident. He says it’s working.

“I ride all year,? he says. “I ride in the rain, especially the summer when it’s a welcome change. It can get pretty hot in the summer, even in the morning. The coldest I rode in this winter was 17 degrees when I left the house. I don’t ride in the slippery stuff, however.?

We pedal to Bodo’s and he springs for a small cup of The Elixir of Life.

“I’m a happier person when I ride and there’s no pressure because this is about just riding to work, and not working out,? he says.

“The truth is, I do it because it’s pure fun,? he admits. “Riding a bike is like being a kid again. It’s a great way to start the day and a better way to end it.?

As Bike Commuters we ride through different parts of the city in various neighborhoods. In my commute, I travel through two extremes in the standard of living. I first ride through a middle class neighborhood, then go through a super low income neighborhood and end up in an upper class neighborhood.. In my ride, I often see all types of people, white, Latino, and Asians. With a mix of people that I see, I’m not quite sure who I should be more cautious around…the white folks, the Latinos or Asians?

What about you?

Should you be afraid of this guy?

Or this guy?

What about this guy?


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