Wade Sellers and Al Rowland were warmed by the sun as they biked their ways to work, a habit shared by the Summerville Park neighbors.
Sellers, who is director of the Northwest Georgia Public Health District, has been making the one-and-a-half-mile trek on his bike most days since moving to the neighborhood about eight years ago.
“I personally don’t like biking in the rain and if it’s down in the 20s I won’t bike,” Sellers said.
Biking has been a 35-year commitment for Rowland, who got back on the bike even after two wrecks, including one in 1989 when he collided with a Tempo.
“It’s just the beauty and the serenity of it all,” Rowland said.
Last year when on a cross country trek from Munster, Germany, to Vienna, Austria, Sellers noticed that Europe was more bicyclist-friendly than the United States.
Particularly in Munster, known as the bicycle capital of Germany, he noticed it was integrated into the daily life.
“People ride in the rain over there,” Sellers said. “You have just as many people biking in their 60s or 70s as in their teens or 20s.”
After the 550-mile trek, Sellers returned home and started studying the differences between the two countries and why biking was so much more popular over there than here.
He first learned that after World War II, when Europe was completely destroyed, everyone biked.
As Europe recovered, more people started using cars — until the energy crisis hit in the 1970s.
“They made the intentional decision to promote bicycling, especially for energy conservation,” Sellers said.
Munster also has infrastructure that promotes biking.
“Atlanta has their perimeter highway,” Sellers said. “They have their perimeter bicycle highway in Munster.”
Munster also has a 3,300-bicycle garage downtown.
From a health standpoint, there are twice as many obese people in the United States than in Germany. Americans seem to have more of a sedentary lifestyle, Sellers said.
“We need to integrate physical activity into our daily lives,” he said, “whether it is walking to the post office or to the store or biking.”
Sellers will talk about his experiences biking at the Bike Walk Northwest Georgia meeting on Tuesday. It begins at 10 a.m. and will be at the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission headquarters on Jackson Hill Drive.