Sunday, May 04, 2008

Alabama: Lonely bike-commuting parent

Scott Infanger picks up his daughter, Elizabeth, from Kilby School in Florence, and they bicycle home
From the Times-Daily (Florence, AL), 05.02.08:

Father takes to bike to save gas
FLORENCE--Children sat on the sidewalk and waited patiently for their parents to pick them up after school on a recent sunny Friday afternoon. SUVs and minivans circled around the parking lot at Kilby School, and parents darted back and forth to collect their children and buckle them in for the ride home.

With one exception.

Scott Infanger walked over from his nearby office at the University of North Alabama, greeted his 7-year-old daughter and unlocked the family trail-a-bike, a tandem bike with a junior seat. Dad and daughter, in reflective vests, cycled away as her classmates looked on. About 11 minutes later, they arrived home.

With gas prices hitting record highs, what's a family to do? In Infanger's case, leave the minivan at home and take to the road on his bicycle...By commuting to work by bicycle, Infanger combines saving money with exercise.

"If you're filling up your gas tank about $100 a week, you've bought a good bike in a week," he said...(Infanger) now wants to pass the biking habit to his children. "I wanted to teach my kids at an early age that biking is a legitimate form of transportation," he said. (Read more.)
Inspiring article from Alabama, where very few people commute by bicycle--less than 2,000 in the entire state. This story profiles a Spanish professor at a local university, who is one of only 10 people in his community who bike commutes. There are no bike lanes, few bike racks, few other cyclists. I can only admire Scott Infanger's persistence; a true bike commuting hero. This is the kind of article that makes more fortunate bike commuters like myself grateful for the supportive bicycle-friendly communities we enjoy.

Image: Times Daily.Scott Infanger with his daughter in Florence, AL.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site
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mwshook said...

I grew up in north Alabama. I had never seen a bike lane until I visited the Univ. of Florida when I was in college.

I was amazed when I visited cities that had sidewalks and pedestrian traffic signals.

Anne said...

The sad part is that it took high gas prices to make him realize he had only an 11 minute commute.

JustFrank said...

We were the "lonely commuting parents" in the bike-friendly Chicago. We used the trail-a-bike, while most of our neighbors carted their kids in SUV's over distances not exceeding two miles!

Jacob said...

I live in Florence,AL and I can attest that this is NOT a bicycle friendly community. Even so, I am about to start bicycle commuting. I am doing it for the excercise, to save money, and because I want to minimize my environmental impact. I am a little worried about the possibility of being in an accident with nothing to protect me but a helmet, but I have plotted a route that avoids high traffic areas and my commute times are offset from peak traffic hours. I am hoping that more people will be inspired to join me and that we can campaign for bicycle lanes, etc because this is an otherwise beautiful city and wonderful place to live.

Scott said...

I just saw this and thought I'd comment on Anne's comment.
I have been bicycle commuting to work since I started at UNA. The reporter chose to write the article from the perspective that gas prices are prompting alternate forms of transportation. I bike for a dozen reasons OTHER than high gas prices. You just can't tell that from the article.
Thanks for spreading the message about bicycle commuting, though.

Scott- the dad in the article

ROOPA said...

The last one's pretty ambiguous. I certainly used the bus more than I needed to, but this time of year, it's just the smart thing to do. With sub-freezing temperatures in the morning, and blinding sun in the evening, both directions are more trouble than they're worth for a full round trip by bike

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