ROYAL OAK — Maureen Elliott, a Royal Oak resident and a 25-year-employee at Beaumont Hospital, lives only three miles from work.
But it wasn’t until May 17, National Bike to Work Day, that she decided to ride her way to work.
“It was just a great way to think (while) coming in to work,” she said standing by her bicycle. “Just being in nature — I think that was the best part.”
She was one of 16 Beaumont employees who, along with Shane Cerone, the Royal Oak hospital president, biked from Starr Presbyterian Church.
“We’re trying to promote healthier lifestyles, and we’re trying to promote environmental awareness,” Cerone said. “For both of those reasons, this is important to us.”
The event was also the launch of the new southeast Oakland County bike map, which displays to cyclists the safest routes to and from work. Both Beaumont Health System and Oakland County worked together to develop the map.
Beaumont CEO Gene Michalski said the map is in line with his goals. He said that when he took the reins of the health system, he wanted to promote community health.
“We’re doing everything we can to promote wellness in the community,” he said during a press conference with Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
The county’s Planning Department helped the development of the map, which encompasses a six-mile radius of Royal Oak’s Beaumont Hospital.
Patterson called childhood obesity in the United States an “epidemic,” and called the map a “no-brainer” in combating it.
“Parents can get out with their kids, and they’ll ride these trails and really begin fighting back against really what is an epidemic for kids,” Patterson said. “This is why bike paths are becoming more popular.”
The maps will be available in all southeastern Oakland County parks, libraries, city municipal buildings, grocery stores and bicycle shops, and inside Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, according to a press release.
Kay Winokur, vice president of quality and professional services, and a Beaumont Green Team co-chairwoman, said she and the rest of the hospital’s Green Team had been coordinating the day for about six months.
“It’s just the spirit of trying something new; you might like it,” Winokur said. “And we’ve already got ideas for next year.”
Winokur added that she’s even received requests from employees to make the bike-to-work event a monthly endeavor.
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