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Biking It and Liking It

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Source: Kevin O'Connor, EAN/University of Vermont Clean Energy Internship Program

For seven years, Doug Robinson has commuted to work using alternative methods of transportation to save energy. Doug lives three miles away from his work at the Vermont Federal Credit Union , and either rides his bike, walks, or runs to work every day.  His primary motivation is to reduce his carbon footprint.

Giving Up the Car

Doug decided to give up his vehicle and share one family car with his wife so that he could reduce his personal energy use. His wife uses the car to travel to work every day because her commute is much longer. For Doug, giving up a car is a moral and ethical choice as he realizes that driving is unsustainable if everyone does it. If Doug needs to get somewhere further than work he finds alternative methods of transportation, saying that “necessity is the mother invention, so if I need to get somewhere, I make it work.”

Beyond reducing his carbon footprint, Doug feels that his decision to not use a car provides many other benefits.  He encourages others to follow in his footsteps because it allows us to:

Connect With Nature

Using alternative methods of transportation has helped Doug connect with the natural world. “What I found was that I connected more with nature. I just felt better every day.” He also believes that biking or walking to work is a meditative practice and is the perfect way to start or end a day.


Doug currently runs to work two days a week. He describes running to work as perfect because he can get exercise in while getting to work. “It’s kind of cool to try to structure your commute around your lifestyle, instead of the other way around.” Doug’s work does not offer showers but he joined a local gym so that he can shower after his runs.

Feel Better

When Doug isn’t running to work, he rides his bike. Doug has noticed a positive correlation between running or biking to work and his mood afterwards. This isn’t a big surprise as exercise has been shown to stimulate brain chemicals that help you feel happier.

Save Money

By not using a car, Doug saves money on gas, maintenance, parking, insurance and all the other costs of using a vehicle that start to add up quickly.  On average, he would have been paying for a 6-mile round trip commute each day, or 30 miles a week, or nearly 1500 miles per year.  That adds up.  

Best Parking Spot Ever

Not only does Doug arrive to work feeling healthier, but he also always has the best parking spot. Doug parks his bike right outside of Vermont Federal Credit Union’s door. The president of the Credit Union doesn’t have a better parking spot than he does! Doug is the only person at the Credit Union who uses alternative methods of transportation during all of the seasons (even the winter) but he has encouraged coworkers to walk to work in the summer. 

So, Reap the Benefits and Spread the Word!

Using alternative methods of transportation to work, such as biking or walking, is becoming more acceptable in the professional work field.  Burlington for instance, has a great infrastructure for riding a bike to work everyday. Vermont also has car share services, Uber, bus networks, and car pool options. Although there are challenges to riding his bike or running to work everyday, such as coping with rain or snow, Doug is proud of his choice and asks, “what are you waiting for?”.

For more information on alternative transportation, visit: