DTRA employee pedals to work
September 23, 2011
There are a number of mass transit options that people can use to save a reasonable amount of money when traveling to work.
Lt. Cmdr. Adam Samuels believes those savings aren't good enough.
Serving in the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's cooperative biological engagement program as an OCONUS training program test and evaluation manager, Samuels commutes an average of four work days a week from his home in Springfield, VA to his DTRA office by bicycle.
"It beats having to deal with all the Washington D.C. traffic and the cost of gasoline," Samuels said.
The majority of his six mile, 45 minute trip is spent riding sidewalk trails on Fairfax County Parkway.
Samuels will bicycle to work as long as weather permits, even riding through 30 to 40 degree weather, which isn't something he's done in the past. He'll use mass transportation when the weather is too stringent.
Samuels first started commuting to work in 2006. He bicycles and uses mass transit.
His best experience thus far was at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan, where the morning rides allowed him to see the city's calmness.
The 35-minute trip took him past Japanese fishing boats, local fish markets and sushi shops opening for business.
He said the commuting "provided the opportunity to relax - almost meditate - and prepare for the upcoming day."
Northern Virginia doesn't provide the same scenic view and feeling he said, but the ability to bicycle to work was very important for Samuel and his wife when they were searching for a new home.
Samuels said they likely passed on a number of houses that didn't provide a reasonable riding distance.
Upon arrival at work, he uses the facilities in the Defense Logistics Agency to shower and get dressed in his uniform attire.
In total, he said the process takes about an hour to complete.
Aside from a heavy traffic area near Springfield mall with small bike lanes, Samuels said he feels completely safe during his trip.
"He's brave. The roads around here are crazy," said Will Chapman, DTRA cooperative biological engagement deputy program manger. Chapman has supervised Samuels for about five months.
He called Samuels a good team member in the office.
Chapman, who takes 30-miles rides with his wife in his leisure, would bike to work but said it's too far from home.
He believes Samuels's morning commute is great for traffic.
Samuels noted that in addition to saving money on car gas, maintenance and reducing traffic congestion, biking to work is also beneficial during natural disasters because he doesn't have to sit in gridlock traffic.
"I just passed them all while I was on the bicycle," Samuels said of the traffic nightmare in after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the East Coast Aug. 23.
The big drawback to bicycling to work is traveling around the installation during the day.
He hopes the garrison makes shuttle services available between peak hours, so that he doesn't have to hitch a ride from a co-worker or find an available bus route.
Samuels said he would bike to meetings, but he doesn't want to arrive sweaty.
Despite this, Samuels encourages bicycling to work, so long as the cyclist plans on staying close to their office during the day or has a viable option to get around the installation.
Samuels recommends people who are considering bicycling to work to research their path and make sure there is a safe route to post. He also said people should practice safe bicycling habits on the open road.