From Harford County government:
(Bel Air, MD) – – For the first time in the history of Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), employees will be encouraged to bike to and specifically at work Thursday, May 20.
Thanks to the collaboration between APG’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) Division and the Harford County Department of Community Services’ Commuter Assistance Bike to Work Day program, APG employees can attend a Bike to (and at) Work Day Rally on Thursday, May 20 at both the Aberdeen and Edgewood areas. Registered participants will ride their bicycles to show their support for this environmentally friendly and economical transportation option.
Held across the nation during the month of May, Bike to Work Day is an effort to promote cycling as an alternative to the single occupant vehicle (SOV) commute. It is important to get the APG community riding their bikes and ultimately turn this occasion into a habit, which can save both the environment and money, as well as offer many health benefits.
“Nationally, this Rally is held on the third Friday in May and is designed to raise the level of awareness about cycling as a commute option,” says Pat Fielder, Community Resources and Rideshare Coordinator for Harford County’s Commuter Assistance Program.
“APG employees have traditionally been very strong supporters of this event and have consistently won a trophy in the Cycle Smackdown (formerly the Briefcase Challenge) competition.
“This year, we thought that by organizing satellite rallies on APG, we could introduce and encourage more APG employees to bike while they are at work,” says Fielder.
“We wanted it to be a fun and convenient way for all APG employees to participate.”
MWR and Bike to Work Day organizers chose to host the APG rallies on a Thursday instead of the traditional third Friday to accommodate everyone’s RDO schedule. For the sake of convenience, there are two rallies scheduled: registered participants in the Aberdeen Area (north) will Rally at the Aberdeen Rec Center; employees in the Edgewood area (south) will Rally at the Stark Recreation Center. Organizers are asking registrants to come to a Rally site depending on where they work; each Rally will occur simultaneously, rain or shine, from 6:00-8:30 am. APG Rally registrants are encouraged to either bike to work or to drive to the Rally site closest to their workplace, leave their cars, and bike on base for the day.
“We really want to focus everyone’s attention on how easy it is to ride their bike at APG. It is also a great way to get daily exercise into what is often a very hectic schedule,” says Ralph Cuomo, MWR’s coordinator for the event. “APG is a perfect place for cyclists because it’s relatively flat, the roads are well marked, and employees are accustomed to sharing the roads with Soldiers, cyclists and pedestrians. Anyone can get around the post with ease on their bicycle. We also want to encourage this healthy and cost-effective option for our employees year round,” continued Cuomo.
“What most federal employees don’t know is that when they choose to commute by bicycle, they are eligible for a $20 tax-free federal transit subsidy per month,” says Fielder.
For the very first time, the Cycle Smackdown competition, a standard component of the Bike to Work Day Rally, will occur among all of the organizations on post. Formerly known as the Briefcase Challenge, this lively competition encourages organizations to register as many participants as possible to bike to work on the day of the Rally. The organization with the most persons registered will win this coveted trophy. All registrants will receive a free official Bike to Work Day t-shirt and light refreshments will be served at both rallies. “We also have great prizes and giveaways from all of our sponsors,” says Fielder.
APG employees must officially register on the Bike to Work Day registration site to be eligible for the competition and for the free t-shirt; employees are also reminded to wear their helmets and reflector gear.
To register directly, visit http://bmc.baltometro.org/b2w/ (make sure to click that you will attend the Harford County – APG Rally).
The genesis for hosting bike rallies at APG was founded on the efforts and commitment of several dedicated APG cycling enthusiasts. Just about any day you might see them on their bicycles – rain, shine, snow or sleet. These cyclists get on their bicycles day in and day out and commute to APG. Just as important as this personal advocacy is the spotlight on promoting health and preventing disease, injury and disability among Soldiers and military retirees, their families and Army civilian employees. Bicycling is certainly one way to integrate part of the Army Medical Command’s transformation from a “sick-care” system to a “health-care” system – one that emphasizes prevention and sustaining good health.
John Resta (Medcom, CHPPM), a longtime bicycle commuter, was instrumental in bringing the bike rallies onto APG. He states that he bikes to work from Bel Air to the Edgewood area of Aberdeen Proving Ground at least two days a week from April through early November. “Some weeks I get three or four days in. I ride mostly because it makes me feel better and because I can. I certainly like saving money and being green, but I ride primarily for the health benefits, both physical and mental. I plan to continue cycling for the rest of my life,” says Resta.
John Wrobel (IMCOM) worked with John Resta and Pat Fielder and was also instrumental in bringing it to the attention of Marni Allison, Chief, Community Recreation Division, and Chris Lockart of the MWR Organization to co-sponsor a Bike at Work Rally at APG. MWR embraced the concept and settled on the May 20 date to celebrate bicycling on base.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Harford County and Aberdeen Proving Ground to partner for the benefit of the community,” says Fielder.
For information on APG’s Rally, please contact Pat Fielder at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on the signature Bike to Work Day Rally in Bel Air, as well as the May as Clean
Commute Month activities, visit www.harfordcountymd.gov/commuter and click on the Bike to Work Day icon.