Sandia LabNews

Road warrior

Cyclist blazes an environmentally friendly trail to Sandia/CA

Image of Sandia chemical engineer Patrick Burton commutes to work on his bike
BRING YOUR OWN BIKE — Sandia chemical engineer Patrick Burton demonstrates that commuting is as easy as riding a bike. (Photo by Randy Wong)

As chair of the Sandia Bicycle Group, chemical engineer Patrick Burton practices the lifestyle of BYOB. That is, bring your own bike. Most days, he bicycles about seven miles round trip to the Albuquerque campus, despite owning a car.

“I would say that I probably get about 70% of my annual transportation done by bike,” he admitted.

For a recent trip to Sandia/California, Patrick decided to challenge himself by bringing his bike. To minimize the cost of travel — and, more importantly, his carbon footprint — he charted a low-emissions path that combined public transit and bicycling. The inspiration to integrate cycling into his travel plans came from watching a commercial about a foldable bike. He chose this particular model for the trip because it is easy to transport and designed for mixed-mode travel. The bike weighs under 50 pounds and can be checked as luggage on an airplane, making it a convenient alternative to renting a vehicle.

“I used the luggage case and just an overnight bag to store my helmet while traveling,” he explained.

Preparation and perspiration

According to Patrick, being prepared for anything is the key. To ensure the success of his endeavor, he scouted out his journey by getting help from colleagues in the California bike commuter group and researching public transportation options and bike routes before hitting the road. He advises seeking out local bike shops and plotting bus routes in advance, noting that commuting by bus and bike in tandem works very well.

Although it may take longer to travel, cycling provides a fun workout that makes up for the time spent driving to the gym. And due to the abundance of safe bicycle lanes and bike racks throughout Livermore, Patrick was able to enjoy the local culture and scenery as he biked instead of wasting time indoors.

Minimizing environmental impact

Image of Sandia chemical engineer Patrick Burton's slim-fit bicycle
COMPACT COMMUTE — When folded, Patrick’s slim-fit bicycle is 30% smaller than the average folding bike. (Photo by Patrick Burton)

Over time, using low-carbon transportation pays for itself and offsets the greenhouse gases emitted by traditional travel vehicles. To prove this point, Patrick estimates that he saved over $200 while traveling to California — about the same cost as renting a car. He hopes to inspire others to become more carbon-neutral by encouraging them to try less fuel-intensive ways to travel.

“You could come out here and do this, and it’s possible. And it’s not as intimidating as one might think,” he said.

Through his advocacy, Patrick is the ultimate road warrior pioneering a path for those who want to be more environmentally conscious while traveling.

Learn more about the Sandia Bicycle Group and Patrick’s trip to Livermore.

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