Coast Guard commuters trade four wheels for two

Admiral Allen leads Coast Guard bicyclists on Bike to Work Day 2009. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Admiral Allen (center) leads Coast Guard bicyclists on Bike to Work Day 2009. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Post written by Angela Hirsch, chief, Coast Guard Community Relations

This Friday, Coast Guard Headquarters will join workplaces around the country to celebrate National Bike to Work Day. Even if your bicycle sports a banana seat and cards in the spokes, this national event is your chance to learn more about bicycling as an energy-efficient, healthy, and convenient mode of daily transportation.

At a lunchtime stationary bicycle challenge this week at Coast Guard headquarters, a few regular riders described their bicycle commutes.

Lt. Cmdr. Jason Smith, a member of the CGHQ cycling club, commutes most days from his home in Maryland. He is quick to point out, however, that his commute is nothing heroic.

“Here in D.C. I bike in about every day… about 10 miles each way. That is nothing compared to others here at Coast Guard headquarters. There are a few that come in regularly from over 20 miles away!” Smith got truly hooked on bicycling when he lived in Rotterdam at MIO Europe where he describes biking as “a necessity.”

For Lt. Cmdrs. Harper and Tracy Phillips, bicycle commuting is a family affair. The couple began commuting from their home in Washington D.C. when they were assigned to headquarters. Their first child, Mason, joined them in his bike seat when he turned one, old enough to ride to the child development center at headquarters.

“Mason loves riding on the bike with us and gets excited whenever we get his helmet out,” says Phillips. New baby sister Sierra will join the family caravan once she is old enough – just in time for Bike to Work Day 2011.

For the last three years, the Coast Guard has had the third highest participation in D.C.’s Bike to Work Day event, coming in behind the National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency. Rear Adm. Korn will lead the Coast Guard bike convoy to downtown D.C. for a city-wide rally in recognition of the 54th Bike to Work Day.

“Biking to work is a wonderful way to get some exercise, avoid the crazy D.C. traffic, and be environmentally responsible,” said Phillips. “It always feels good when I can ride past countless cars waiting through multiple cycles at a stoplight.”

Click here for more information on Bike to Work Day events in your area.

Are you participating Bike to Work Day this year? If so, dress in your Coast Guard finest and send your pictures to We’ll be posting the best images we receive in a Flickr gallery next week. Don’t forget to tell us who is in the photo, where it was taken and who the photographer was!

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