Six years ago when Mike Coppersmith challenged employee Pat Haase to participate in National Bike to Work Week, it probably didn’t cross his mind that the (now) 71 year-old woman would keep it going for six years.
By the week’s end, Pat Haase of Hortonville will have logged 600 miles biking to work at Festival Food in New London.
Mike’s brother Ted joked about it and said, “Mike did it for one year, and that was it. And he only lives in 2.5 miles out of New London.”
“She even rides in the rain,” he said.
Ted Coppersmith lives only a half mile from Festival, but he admittedly drove his truck to work Monday because of the rain.
During “Bike to Work Week,” Haase leaves home an hour early and sets out for the back roads to arrive in New London by 6 a.m.
Co-worker Kim Weber said, “She’s amazing. “She’s 71 years old. I live in Northport and I wouldn’t ride my bike to work.”
Another co-worker near the service desk said, “It’s been so long since I rode a bike I don’t even know if I could remember how.”
Haase, replied; “You never forget how to ride a bike.”
She said she enjoys the scenery of the back roads on the way to work in the morning.
“The sunrise yesterday morning was beautiful,” said Haase. “I see a lot of deer. One morning seven of them crossed in front of me and I had to yell at them to get out of the road.”
She has learned a few things about the early morning commute to work riding a bike. One is that you should always look over your right shoulder if checking behind you. This does not affect your steering.
Another thing she said is that the worst part of the ride is when cars do not dim their headlights.
“It really blinds you,” said Haase.
“The other thing motorist should avoid is blowing their horn. That can really startle cyclist,” she added.
She wears a helmet and a bright orange safety vest, and has a light and odometer on her bike.
Outside of National Bike to Work Week, Haase enjoys casual rides occasionally with her husband who bikes more often than she does.
“I guess it’s something I just started doing six years ago when Mike told me about it, and keep on doing it while I can,” she said.
By the week’s end she logs on 100 miles. Multiply that by six years and you get 600 miles.
Haase began working for Mike and Ted’s father Lloyd Coppersmith in 1988. She began working for Mike and Ted when they took over the business in 1997. Currently she works as the head bookkeeper at Festival Foods.
Perhaps she will take up the job of head physical fitness trainer sometime down the road.