While much of Bowdoin struggled to drive in to work during Thursday’s fierce snowstorm, Chris Derbyshire rolled along the 22 miles of snow- and ice-covered roads on his bicycle. “It was much less stressful for me than for the people driving,” he said.
On most week days Derbyshire, who works for Bowdoin Dining, cycles five miles from his Brunswick home. But on this blustery, frigid day he was coming in from Yarmouth. He rode a Hardrock bike with a hybrid tire in front to break snow and a studded tire in back for traction. The trek took him just about two hours, and he punched in on time at 7 a.m., according to Dining Director Mary Lou Kennedy.
Derbyshire said he gave up his car and started riding his bicycle to work in 1997 to protest the U.S. president’s policies toward oil. Since then, the 56-year-old has ridden his bike to work every day. Nothing deters him — not rain, snow, black ice, freezing rain, slush, winds, soaring temperatures, or impatient tourists on the road. “It’s like an addiction,” he said of our need for cars. “Once you’re free of an addiction, you ask why do I need it? Why do I need 4,000 pounds of metal to haul around my 130-pound body?”
After all, bicycling to Portland from Brunswick only takes three times as long on a bicycle, Derbyshire says. Riding into work in the morning also energizes him. “If you get around riding a bike, you feel great,” he said. Besides bicycling 7,000 to 8,000 miles a year, Derbyshire cross-country skies 10 to 15 miles a week. In the summer, he swims 10 to 15 miles.