Getting to work is exercise for Brent Roberts.
Roberts bikes nearly 20 miles a day, from his home to work at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE).
“I try to ride year around,” Roberts, a business configuration analyst, said.
Roberts got started riding with his dad. He got serious about it as a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. By the time he was a senior, he’d gotten his first nice bike.
Roberts says a really good ride is 40 to 50 miles a day—the equivalent of a ride from West Dodge Street to Offutt Air Force base and back. His longest ride to date is 140 miles, equal to biking around Omaha—twice.
He sticks to area trails as much as he can.
“Anyone who lives in Bellevue, with that great trail system, has no excuse for not trying to ride to work,” Roberts said.
Even with bike lanes on streets and more trails, the percentage of people who say they bike to work is falling. According to the U.S. Census, people who say they use a bike to get to work fell 3.2 percent between 2016 and 2017.
Bike advocacy groups say lower gas prices and ride-hailing services, like Uber and Lyft, and electric scooters are cutting into bike commuting. But there’s hope in a growing market of e-bikes. An e-bike is a bicycle that is powered both by electricity and pedaling.
So far this year sales of e-bikes are up 24.7 percent, according to the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association.
Brent Roberts thinks they’re great.
“Not everyone is capable of biking at safe speeds on busy roads and e-bikes could expand the number of people who take up biking as a hobby or use it as a form of transportation,” Roberts said.
BCBSNE wellness services manager Kathy Nellor says any opportunity to be active, away from screens and devices, off the couch and out of doors is good for your health.
“We have the facilities here at Blue Cross for bikers to get ready at work after their commute,” Nellor said. “It’s another way to support a wellness culture.”
Roberts appreciates the support. He’s gearing up to ride across Nebraska – Chadron to Fremont – on BRAN 39 in a few weeks.
Then it’s back to work on the bike.