Daily Commute is No Grind on the Open Trail
On any given morning, when most of us are groping for our second cup of morning coffee, Jeff Johnson has already logged in a workout at the North Suburban YMCA, a ten-mile round-trip bike ride, and breakfast with his family back at his Deerfield home. Then he’ll turn his bike north for a 15-mile commute to his job as Chief Information Officer at BCU, a credit union with offices in Vernon Hills and Crystal Lake. If that sounds daunting, consider doing it 12 months a year, in rain, sleet, and whatever else Mother Nature dishes out. Still, the weather doesn’t seem to deter Johnson at all. “It doesn’t matter. I look forward to my ride every day,” he says.
A longtime fitness enthusiast, Johnson started occasionally commuting by bike about five years ago. Within a couple years, it had become a central part of his daily routine. Johnson takes the challenges of his daily trek in stride, relishing the physical and mental benefits of his ride. “With all the electronics that dominate life these days, I really like having the chance to disconnect and think about the issues I have to face during the day,” he comments. “Riding my bike gives me the opportunity to work through my goals for the day without any distractions.” He sticks to the extensive network of bike trails that link the northern suburbs, a system that few casual riders fully explore. “I avoid roads at all costs. Most people don’t realize just how many trails we have available. Of the 11,000 miles I bike a year, I probably ride about 9000 miles on those trails,” he says.
Biking is only part of his fitness regimen; he has been an active Y member since graduating college. He first joined the McGaw YMCA in Evanston, attracted by the value offered by the inexpensive Y membership. After moving to Deerfield 20 years ago, he joined the North Suburban Y in Northbrook and it has been a vital part of his life ever since. Johnson appreciates both the facilities and the atmosphere at the Y. “First, it’s a great place to workout, but it’s also a friendly place where people are just serious about fitness. Nobody’s strutting around like peacocks.” Renovations currently underway will make the Y even more inviting, with upgraded locker rooms, remodeled bathrooms, and a new lobby/welcome center to be completed by this summer.
For helpful links to bike trail maps and descriptions, check out www.traillink.com. To learn more about wellness programs and opportunities at the North Suburban YMCA, visit www.nsymca.org.
About the North Suburban YMCA
The YMCA is a not-for-profit entity and relies on donations to fund capital improvements and keep its programs available to all, including those facing financial hardship. All board members are community volunteers, who donate their time, talents and financial resources. Located at 2705 Techny Road in Northbrook, the YMCA has served area families in its twelve-city region for over 40 years. The Y is about youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, providing programs and services that meet the needs of our community and are accessible to all. For more information or to make a donation call Tara Bilby at 847-272-7250, email@example.com, or visit www.nsymca.org.