Name: Marc Collier
Transportation Mode: Bicycle
Commute Length (roundtrip): 26 miles
Avg. Weekly Smart Commutes: 4
SCE Participant How Many Years: 4
In a few sentences, please explain what motivates you to participate in the Smart Commute Emmet program.
“Getting in early morning rides is probably one of the biggest motivators. Also, being part of the community of Smart Commuters in the area.”
Please describe one of your average daily commutes. What and who do you see along the way? What routes, trails or streets do you use? Is it rigorous or relaxed?
“I usually leave shortly after 7 a.m. and begin a 4.7 mile climb, starting with a sandy, seasonal road on my fat bike. Wildlife and tracks are usually found along this route, and I rarely see any vehicles. After getting through the first two miles of brutal, sandy conditions, the route provides some relief going down a descent before climbing up again and turning onto a section of singletrack. After reaching one of the highest points in the region, I start a fast and somewhat technical descent with a steep, punchy climb, which helps make up most the elevation lost. This ends the first portion of my commute at 4.7 miles. At this point, I usually take a short break at a bench in the forest, having some water and coffee while reflecting on the beautiful morning.
“I continue the next portion of the commute down a fast section of trail, exiting onto a paved country road. Down this road I get a panoramic view of Little Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan, including the Beaver Island Archipelago. I hang a left on what turns into a rough, seasonal road, which offers a last look at the Lake Michigan islands. The descent on the dirt road provides great excitement as I look for deer and wild turkeys that frequent the area. I meet another series of paved roads heading towards Petoskey. This is where I start to see some morning traffic. I utilize a headlight and flashing tail lights for safety.
“As I enter the cityscape I usually have a few route options, all of which lead me down to the Bear River Valley Recreation Area. I cross the railroad tracks and a marshy area, usually getting a little muddy. As I cross Sheridan Avenue I tend to see morning walkers. I dip off the bike path onto a singletrack section while negotiating roots and rocks. I cruise down along the river on a gravel path, crossing Lake Street and on down to the shores of Little Traverse Bay, hopping onto the Little Traverse Wheelway. I take in the morning light on the Bay and prepare for one more short, punchy climb up to the Latitude 45 bike shop. The route totals 13 miles from home to work.”
How does the commute effect your day?
“The commute always makes it a great day. I feel very satisfied and content the rest of the day. When you already experienced one of the best parts of the day, it leaves you in a good mood.”
Smart commuters have a variety of reasons why they participate. What are yours?
“Personal fitness goals are probably number one reason – but also the sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction.”
Has participation in Smart Commute Emmet spurred you to ride or walk more outside the home-to-work commute? If so, what has that entailed?
“I bike most days, regardless. However, it makes me more aware that biking or walking, instead of driving, are almost always the best options.”
What is your advice to those considering joining the Smart Commute Emmet program?
“Make the sacrifice and get up early. You can do this. And once you start making it a habit, you will be surprised by what you’re actually capable of.”