IT director takes daily commute on two wheels

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- This semester, the League of American Bicyclists recognized Penn State as a Bicycle Friendly University. Joel Weidner, director of the Interactive Media Team in Auxiliary & Business Services, rides his bike to work every day. The 1.3-mile ride may not seem like a lot, but what turns out to be about 15 miles a week (plus riding to meetings) makes biking to work the healthy, environmental and cost-effective activity that keeps Weidner riding — even in the nastiest weather.

It was 35 degrees this morning. How was your ride? Do you ride in all weather?
It wasn’t bad, a little chilly. I’ve biked in total snow and slush when I probably shouldn’t have. I just take it really slow. It almost gets to be a principle thing. I wiped out once on the ice. My hardcore biker friend said, “There are two kinds of bikers: Those who have crashed and those who are going to crash.” 

Have you always biked to work?

I can’t remember how long, but I’ve been doing it for a while. I used to do a mix of walking and riding, but would still drive the car if it was raining or cold. About two years ago, I kicked it up a notch and started riding every day. I got rain gear pants and a jacket. This year I even started riding to The Penn Stater for meetings, and to my off-campus dentist. 

Is it an exercise thing, an environmental thing or an economical thing?

It’s all of those. I don’t have a parking permit. So, it pays for itself. I’ve been trying to exercise more so it’s the health benefits. If I ride every day, that’s about 15 miles a week. That’s about 800 calories burned. I also just like to ride my bike. Plus, going around campus, I can get somewhere faster than driving. It’s much easier to get around. And riding to meetings on a nice day, I think, “How great is this?” I love it. 

How do you like biking in and around campus?
I think people are pretty respectable toward bikes around here. I always wear my helmet and a high-visibility jacket. I have lights on the front and back of my bike for evening riding. State College has been good about adding bike paths. It’s a pretty bike-friendly community. 

Do you enjoy biking outside of the workweek?

I like to bike on the weekends mostly on the roads. I’ll do between 20 and 30 miles. I’ll do a couple-hour ride on a Saturday or Sunday, or sometimes after work if I can get out for an hour. I like to do the loop from downtown to Linden Hall and back Brush Valley. It’s about 17 miles. I also like to do Spring Creek Canyon. It’s a great way to get out and do a little exercise.

Sporting his helmet, gloves and high-visibility jacket, Joel Weidner arrived at the Housing and Food Services Building after his daily commute to work. Credit: Jonathan McVerry / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated January 14, 2013