Celebrity Cycling Commuter
Occupation: Meteorologist, Army Corps of Engineers, Water Management Section
Hometown: Laguna Beach, California
Degree: BS Earth Science / Weather Forecasting, Northern Arizona University
Wheels: Specialized cyclocross
Five thousand skiers rely on Larry Schick’s Powder Alert for the best Northwest powder conditions. Hundreds of thousands more people may remember Schick as the weather man for KING 5 TV from 1983 – 2003.
Twenty five years ago, Larry Schick drove a car to his job every day to report the weather for KING 5 TV. Five years ago, Schick started bicycling to work. Two years ago, Schick biked 18 of 20 days during the Group Health Commute Challenge – filling his gas tank only once in May.
“Save money, get in shape, have fun, …what’s the downside?”
Larry commutes eight miles from Magnolia to SODO, where he works as a weather forecaster for the Army Corps of Engineers. The Water Management Section is responsible for flood control and regulating dams during floods.
His daily ride through Myrtle Edwards Park affords him chamber of commerce views of cruise ships, Mt. Rainier, and city lights. “It’s a mini-vacation every day!”
The commute includes some challenges. The quarter-mile stretch along Highway 99, just north of Spokane Street, is a minefield of potholes, train tracks, and blind intersections. He dodges trains and cement mixers to pass through this dangerous territory, which colleagues call ‘The Hydra.’
To battle The Hydra, Larry rides a Specialized cyclocross bike. The stronger frame and meatier tires helps the bike withstand the street’s onslaught. He also dons a reflective vest, and equips his steed with a headlight and three taillights. Hand signals are his weapons.
He arrives to his post greeted by friendly showers and lockers. The casual atmosphere and predictable work hours make cycling to work easier. Approximately six percent of the Water Management workforce, mostly staff with science backgrounds, bikes to work.
Schick quickly counsels new cycle commuters. “Summer winds often blow from north to south and are stronger in the afternoon. So modify your route to protect yourself (a 20 mph headwind produces four times the force as a 10 mph wind)…For long-distance commutes, try biking once per week to start…After six weeks of biking to work, your new habit will be addictive.”
Schick’s 2008 goal was to bike commute 1,200 miles, 75 round trips. He rides another 1,000 to 2,000 miles recreationally – participating in mini-one-day tours of the San Juan Islands and joining events like the Group Health Seattle To Portland Bicycle Classic and the American Lung Association’s Trek Tri Island. His longest tour was a 12-day, 500-mile ride from Santa Cruz to San Diego.
“Biking becomes an integral part of your lifestyle. It’s always available to you. You can just ride from your house whether it’s for transportation or recreation.”
Are you a fair-weather cyclist who prefers to ski in the winter? Larry Shick’s Powder Alert email delivers powder forecasts one to seven days in advance. Subscribe for free at www.skiwashington.com.
Scott Marlow was marketing director for Cascade Bicycle Club from 2001 – 2005. The Club record-holder for the shortest commute (under six-seconds), Marlow works from his home office in West Seattle. Nominate a cyclist of the month!