Senior Software Engineer Adam Patrick has been on a bike since he was a kid. In middle school, he woke up early to ride 10 miles before his job at summer camp. And in college, during his Rockwell Automation co-op, he began bike racing with his school’s cycling club. So, when he transferred to Phoenix in 2010 and heard they used to have a biking team, he was thrilled.
Featured in Photo: Lynn Folden, Adrian Pantea, Adam Patrick, Maureen Nowland, Roger Moore and Neill Thompson (l to r) sport their Rockwell Automation jerseys and shorts.
“We were all riding individually, so I said let’s do these afternoon rides again.” With that, the Phoenix bike club was reborn. Today, about 10 Rockwell Automation employees get together on Tuesdays and Thursdays and ride bicycles for about an hour and a half.
The group even ordered matching jerseys and shorts branded with the Rockwell Automation logo. “It’s cool when we’re out together,” said Adam. “We look like a team out there.”
Why a Bike Club?
The team says there are many benefits to riding together. “The biggest benefit is the motivation,” said Adam. “It’s easy to get lost in the work and stay here by the time the sun goes down. These rides are a reminder not to miss out on exercise.”
Plus, he notes, there’s safety in numbers. It’s easier for cars to see five riders versus one. And riding as a group can make new riders feel more comfortable. Most of all, it just makes it more fun. “I like the camaraderie of it,” said Adam. “It’s a pretty fun and casual group, and it reinforces the friendship aspect beyond the working relationship.”
Project Test Engineer and team member Neill Thompson adds that there are huge benefits to cycling in general—whether alone or in a group. “As a cyclist, I feel that I am helping myself, as well as helping the planet. I am personally healthier and when I commute, my cost per mile is negligible compared to the alternatives. But I am also reducing traffic congestion, parking problems, wear and tear on the roads, smog and greenhouse gasses, and energy consumption.”
Featured in Photo: Will Klemovage, Lynn Folden, Adam Patrick, Steve Sheahan, Maureen Nowland and Neill Thompson (l to r) gather for their afternoon ride.
Adam can relate to the health benefits. Several years ago, Adam was in top shape—running marathons and participating in triathlons. Then a health issue caused him to take time off to reset. Since then, his focus has been on getting back to where he was physically. The cycling certainly helps. He also enjoys running and swimming, and he even completed the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in 2013.
Making Time to Ride
“I started riding in my teens,” said Neill. “Now I try to make it part of my life. If it becomes routine, like brushing your teeth, it ceases to be a matter of choice and becomes a matter of habit. The key to making it automatic is making sure it is something you enjoy.”
Plus, Neill notes, cycling doesn’t really take up that much of his time. “On the days I commute to work by bicycle, I ride 36 miles round trip, but after subtracting the time I would have spent in my car, the commitment for the day is only about an hour. Multiply by two days a week and I get 72 miles worth of riding while only taking two hours of my time. That’s a bargain! Then, I ride a regularly scheduled three-hour group ride on Saturday mornings. Following this plan, I ride almost 120 miles per week and it only takes about five hours out of my week.”
An Open Invitation
The team welcomes new riders—of all levels, from recreational riders to racers—and encourages others to start similar clubs at other Rockwell Automation locations. And if you’re ever in Arizona, look them up.
“Phoenix is a great place as far as weather goes if you’re into biking,” said Adam. “My grand idea is for a big Rockwell Automation group to come out to Phoenix and we’d go riding together.”
This year the group plans on participating in two of the most publicized road bike races in Arizona: Tour de Scottsdale in mid-October and El Tour de Tucson in late November. “We welcome and encourage all Rockwell employees to participate with us,” said Adrian Pantea, another rider on the team.