Emory Report Extra
July 10, 2009

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Wheaton’s tips for beginner bicyclists:

  • Start small and be patient with yourself.
    In-house bike training helped him gain enough strength to start riding in his neighborhood.

  • Get fitted on your bike so you are really comfortable. Try this out on a less expensive setup to see if you really want to do this full time.

  • The number one tip for any biker is safety. Make sure the route you are traveling is safe, well-lit and if possible avoid heavy traffic areas.

  • Make eye contact with any person driving a vehicle when approaching lights or stops to ensure the driver is aware you are in the intersection.


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July 10, 2009
Staff Spotlight
Biking to work makes him ‘feel like a kid again’

By Kay Hearn

If you told Robert Wheaton he would be riding 23.6 miles roundtrip to work on a bike, he would not have believed you.

Wheaton, an Emory Healthcare desktop support technician in Information Services and self-proclaimed “couch potato,” twisted his knee in March 2008. Physical therapy was needed and biking was suggested.

After cycling around the neighborhood Wheaton decided to try and bike the 2.5 miles to the bus stop at Northlake, where he caught the shuttle to work. Previously, he had driven to the bus stop. But to cut expenses, he and his wife donated one of the family cars to charity.

When the Northlake Park’n’Ride shuttle was discontinued, Wheaton had a choice to make: whether to bike the entire distance to and from work. To prepare he attempted the ride on weekends. Although a challenge, he was up for it. On May 18, 2008, Wheaton made the leap from the couch to the open road and biked the entire distance to work.

On a clear, cloudless, fall day in October, Wheaton was riding his bike through a school zone. After coming down the hill in front of the elementary school, which had just been let out for the day, he was brushed off his bike by a passing vehicle. The driver fled the scene, but a nurse exiting the school parking lot stopped to assist him. Wheaton has no recollection of the incident to this day, and spent the night in the Trauma Unit at Atlanta Medical Center. “I recovered, and had some serious soul-searching about whether to continue,” he admits.

Recently while riding to work in the early morning hours, Wheaton was at a four-way stop and was almost T-boned by a driver who was not paying attention. Luckily, being aware of his surroundings he was able to get out of harm’s way.

Wheaton says he’s glad he made the decision to begin – and continue -- cycling. He has lost 30-plus pounds and improved his attitude. “I feel like a kid again,” he said when asked about how biking has improved his lifestyle. “I look forward to the ride to work and back home again. It’s a great stress reliever.” His resting heart rate is lower, stamina has increased and so has his energy levels. “I have so much energy my wife tells me to go for a ride on weekends just to use some of it up!”

Rain, shine or snow, Wheaton will be riding his bike to work. Catch him, if you can!