Marey Richins, the 52-year-old kindergarten teacher who was named the San Mateo County Commuter of the Year, bikes every day from her San Carlos Hills home to work in Belmont — sometimes with the class pet rat, Rat Girl. She will bike to work today as park of Bike to Work Day.
How did you start using a bicycle for your commute? When my daughter was in high school, she was diagnosed with cancer and wasn’t well enough to walk to school. That left me without a car, so I would ride my bike to work and she would come pick me up. Eventually, I made a pledge I was not going to drive to work. This is Day 156.
Do you have any advice for others who might want to ditch their cars for bikes? Just do it. I guess I’ll steal it from Nike. I think the best thing is that when I started riding, I find I feel good, and I’m ready to work because my blood is moving. The bike ride is my boost of energy.
How do you manage to ride with the class pet rat? It’s like a drawstring backpack, on my back. It can be quite bumpy. She doesn’t really like it, but she copes. It’s just once a week when I have to bring her back to the classroom on Mondays.