By Christina Schiavo, Corporate Relations Intern, Palio
One of the countless beauties of living in Saratoga Springs is the luxury of everything being in close proximity. The city is conducive to walking or cycling just about anywhere. Meeting some friends for dinner and drinks? – You can walk! Don’t feel like getting stuck in traffic on your morning commute? – Then bike on over to work! That’s what a handful of Palio employees do, seeing that we’re centrally located in the heart of Broadway.
We actually have a number of employees who are extremely passionate about cycling, whether it is for exercise, fun, competition, transportation, exploring, or even an outlet for stress relief and creative thinking. Just ask Guy Mastrion, Chief Creative Officer. What started as a competitive thing, has now taken a different route. “Now I ride as an antidote to middle age and the liberating feeling of not sitting in endless meetings all day,” said Mastrion. “In fact, time on a bike is some of my most productive thinking and ideation time and challenges the wisdom of keeping people locked up in rooms all day as a means to solve problems.”
For Mastrion, cycling is not only a form of exercise and a way to get creative juices flowing, but also a way to enjoy the great outdoors here at the foot of the Adirondacks. He typically rides three to four times per week and covers about 100 miles/week, taking in the view. “There is a killer network of trails that you can go off-roading completely,” said Mastrion. Even more so, the beauty of riding in Saratoga would be the weather. You can generally start riding in March and continue all the way through to November. Mastrion added, “When we have mild winters with little snow, you might see me take the occasional ride!”
Philip Reynolds, Vice President Creative Director, also enjoys cycling, but for his own reasons: “Cycling is excellent exercise and Saratoga is a great environment for it.” Although Reynolds typically likes to switch up his exercise routine, cycling is his one constant. It allows him to enjoy health benefits and also enables him to explore the glorious city of Saratoga. “I love learning about the area that I live in through cycling and exploring new roads,” said Reynolds. “I find myself cycling down roads that I would never need to travel on in the car.”
One benefit of cycling in Saratoga is the variety that it offers. As Reynolds describes, “Saratoga has a great terrain, offering both flat and hilly country.” You have the freedom to go any direction, and you will find great roads with sufficient shoulders.
For Joseph Acee, Associate Creative Director, cycling is a major part of his life and is something he would find difficult living without. Other than the exercise benefits , Acee and his family rely on his cycling for transportation purposes. “I don’t like to drive and personally feel that cars are overused,” said Acee. “Upon moving here, my family has been able to live normally with only one car for five years.”
If the weather is permitting, he will take advantage of being able to cycle, but if not, Acee will use public transportation. “I still get interesting reactions from some of my coworkers when I tell them I commute to work with my bike and the help of local transit authority,” said Acee. Through his use of his bike and public transportation, Acee is not only living healthier, but is also reducing his carbon footprint.
Acee has about a 6-mile ride from his home in Saratoga to Palio. He said that this would be considered a relatively easy ride, but not when you do it at the pace he likes. Acee finds that in doing his commute at a faster pace, it provides him with a solid workout prior to his workday, getting him energized and ready. “I always feel better when I ride into work,” said Acee.
For Uwe Tigör, MD, EVP Chief Medical Officer, rather than cycling being a passion, it’s been a way of life since his youth. When asked why he likes to cycle, Tigör’s response represented how significant cycling has truly been to him. “I grew up in a suburb of Berlin where cycling was part of life like a bagel and schemer is part of a New York morning,” said Tigör. “That’s how you covered the distances between the subway stations, school, and later the hospital – passion did not have a place, it was reality.”
Upon moving to New York City, things changed for Tigör. Cycling was no longer a simple way of life and transportation, but rather dangerous and even a gamble at times. “Thinking about biking was a survival necessity, seeing that the city wasn’t very accommodating and every biker had horror stories of flying over a suddenly opened car door or landing on the hood on a taxicab,” said Tigör. “You knew how important those wheels were, especially when all that was left of them was the bike lock around the traffic sign where you left your bike that morning.”
Moving to Saratoga was a breath of fresh air (for more reasons than one) for Tigör, especially with regards to his cycling. The environment was conducive to biking again, enabling him to ride to work or into town. “Saratoga let me get back to what comes naturally – biking everywhere I need to go.”
Account Director in Managed Markets, Steve Toman, is another one of our avid cyclers. “One of the best things about living in Saratoga is that it is a road cycling playground,” says Toman. “We have access to high quality asphalt roads through flats, rolling farmland, wooded hillsides, and lung-searing hills – all within a few minutes of downtown.”
Over the past few years, Toman has met a few great individuals from the community and at Palio who share his love for cycling. As Toman mentioned, “A group of us ride every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 6 AM to 8 AM, which is good for the soul as well as the legs!” Looking to start cycling or interested in a new route? – Toman offers his input: “The only thing that beats riding into the sunrise through the beautiful farm country out beyond Saratoga Lake is to tack on a loop through the Saratoga battlefield.”
A few years back, Toman started volunteering for Saratoga Healthy Transportation Network (SHTN), a local nonprofit organization that lacked strong visibility in the community. With the help of Palio, SHTN became Bikeatoga. In addition, Palio supported the nonprofit through logo and website creation, as well as through public relations work.
Bikeatoga is dedicated to creating a community that is more pedestrian and cycling friendly. Additionally, this nonprofit organization has a bike workshop where donated bikes are fixed up. The refurbished bikes are then put back on the streets through programs such as Earn-a-Bike and Kids Bike Giveaway.
Here are some tips every rider should keep in mind when setting out on the open road: Always be prepared for flat tires or getting hit by a car. On long rides, drink a bottle of water every hour. Ride the lightest bike you can find. Pay attention to gear ratios, which are the optimal ratios for the way you ride. Training to ride at a high cadence (between 90 and 100 RPM) provides the best transfer of energy in a less strenuous way on your muscles.
Thinking about cycling? Stop thinking – just get up and do it!
Here at Palio, health and wellness runs through everything we do – in the office and out. And our employees are involved from every angle! From running to yoga, and tennis to ironman – you name it, we’ve got folks who do it. Because health is such a big part of our lives and work, our Because We Can health initiatives series is designed to highlight the passions, commitments, accomplishments and goals of a few of the members of our team.
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