Curtis Corlew, an art and journalism professor at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, has won 2012 BTWD Bike Commuter of the Year award for Contra Costa County.
Curtis Corlew bicycled when he was younger and then he stopped. “Boy was I getting big,” Corlew says. “I was over 190, and I’m a small person.” Corlew’s wife convinced him to get back on a bike in 2004 by starting her own bike commute. Now Corlew rides every day, he’s down to about 140, and is so enthusiastic about riding that he incorporates bike consciousness into his teaching.
This year, for example, as one his graphics class assignments, his students have created Bike to Work posters for the Los Medanos College community, urging students, administrators and faculty to bike commute to school on May 10.
Corlew’s route to the college is mostly on the canal bike path. He’s ridden the 16-mile round trip every work day – except one – this year. “The best thing about the commute is how you’re in touch with the seasons and the aromas of the day,” Corlew says. “So as the seasons change you smell flowers or grasses or lavender or somebody’s cooking bacon in the morning. And every day you notice that the days are longer. You’re not sealed off but rather are a part of the world.”
He adds, “Because I’m a teacher I can keep my bicycle in my office. So people see it and they ask me about it. You do something like this and you realize, gosh this is so great! I get better parking. It’s like a free gym membership. We live in the suburbs. We have a car. But it sits in the garage all week long not using gas, and not getting dirty and not having the sun beat down on it. It’s going to last a long long time. And that’s a real cost saving.”
Julie Haas-Wajdowicz, who nominated Corlew wrote, “On campus everyone knows him by his bicycle and asks him for advice on purchasing a commuter bike, bike routes, and bicycle vacations. Bike commuting morphed into vacation cycling: he and his wife cycled Oregon, Washington, Canada, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming last summer. Curtis’s life has changed for the better, just because he started riding his bike to work.”
For Curtis’s full story click here.
Don’t miss out on Bike to Work Day this year, May 10, 2012! Read more about the event and how you can participate.