Two weeks ago, a team of Coeur d’Alene Resort employees skipped the snooze button, slipped on their bike shoes and climbed above a resort shuttle bus to downtown Sandpoint.
Then, fueled by hot coffee and warm breakfast burritos, they pedaled south out of Sandpoint, a 65-mile scenic route commute past ponds, pine forests and farmland. No rush-hour here.
It all began with Chuck Shirley, Catering Manager at The Resort, who commutes 16 miles round trip from Hayden every day, rain or shine.
He inspired the resort’s first Bike to Work Day, an event created in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists and now held throughout the world to promote bicycle commuting as an alternative to driving.
It was so successful that Shirley asked Bill Reagan, President of Coeur d’Alene Resort, permission to keep the event going, and Reagan, himself an avid cyclist, immediately lent his support.
What started as a one-off annual cycling event has expanded to five group rides throughout the spring and summer.
And the routes have expanded too.
Cally King, Marketing & Public Relations Manager, didn’t let the nearly forty-mile commute to The Resort from her home on the South Hill of Spokane deter her from participating. Not wanting to ride that distance alone, King convinced fellow Spokane resident, Nick Buley, Director of Security at The Resort, to join her for the commute.
And like a Tour de France peloton, the group grew, with five to ten resort employees making the monthly journey.
Says King. “What makes this truly special is that many of the employees that come join us in Spokane actually live in Coeur d’Alene – they simply hop on board for the fun of it!”
The rewards are both personal and professional.
“We all ride in together as a team, which creates a wonderful work environment,” says Brianna Shriner, Director of Human Resources.
“As a leader at The Resort, I enjoy supporting my team members in living active lifestyles,” says Reagan. “Our Bike to Work Day helps to create a positive company culture, where our employees have the opportunity to bond outside of their individual departments.”
“Life tends to move so fast and we are all busy, so making the time for a longer commute can prove to be a challenge,” says Reagan. “However, biking into work is absolutely worth it when you consider the health benefits, environmental advantages and importance of time spent engaging with your team.”
Although Bike to Work Day has officially expanded to a series of rides, many of the participants have been motivated to commute by bicycle more frequently.
“Ride to work and back once, and you are surprised how easy it is,” says Sales & Catering Office Manager Karen Shirley, whose husband Chuck inspired the movement. “Or it might not be, but you’ll be able to say it’s possible, and marvel at your accomplishment!”
And at the end of the day, whether that’s a workday or vacation day, a six-mile cruise or a 65-mile commute, the region’s scenery inspires.
“The Inland Northwest is truly a recreational playground, especially for cyclists,” says King.
“We are beyond fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes,” adds Reagan. “You can’t beat the mountain, river and lake views while on a bike ride!”
Even if you hit the snooze button.