By Michael King
Reprinted with permission from the Appleton Post-Crescent
Originally published February 19, 2011
Three years ago, Rob Gusky decided to take positive steps to
lose weight. In the process he reduced his carbon footprint on the
Gusky, 48, an engineering technical leader at Kimberly-Clark
Corp., lost 25 pounds when he started biking to his Neenah office
from his Appleton (Wisconsin) home in 2008. He's kept the weight
"It's 8.5 miles each way so it's 17 miles roundtrip, year-round,
every day," he said.
His passion for bicycling as part of maintaining a healthy
lifestyle is one of the reasons why K-C this week announced the
Scott Get Up and Ride Wisconsin Bike Challenge.
Last year, Gusky was one of 587 K-C employees at 62 locations
worldwide who biked over 205,000 miles, a 40 percent increase over
2009. That translates to about 6.8 million calories, or about one
ton of fat, burned by K-C employees. By avoiding use of gas-powered
vehicles, it also led to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by
more than 200,000 pounds.
"This is our first year going beyond K-C," said Gusky. "We have
our Scott brand sponsoring it and they're very focused on reducing
the amount of vehicle miles."
The free competition has two components: cycling for
transportation and cycling for sport. K-C will continue its
internal competition but the Wisconsin challenge is open to anyone
18 and older, including about 25,000 employees at 12 of the largest
Fox Valley area companies or organizations.
The challenge begins May 16, the start of Bike to Work week, and
runs through Sept. 30. Prizes will be offered to participants in
the transportation category, encouraging commuters and any trip
that displaces motor vehicle use.
"This is such a tremendous opportunity for Wisconsin bicyclists
to encourage more and more people to ride," said Kevin Hardman,
executive director of the Bike Federation of Wisconsin.
Noting the $1.5 billion economic impact of bicycling in
Wisconsin, Hardman said the challenge will provide statistics to
help support funding requests for improvements to biking
For 2011, the Kimberly-Clark Foundation is pledging 10 cents per
mile logged by challenge participants, up to $5,000, in the form of
a grant to Fox Cities Greenways to support local trail
One aspect for tech savvy bicyclists is the use of a free sports
tracking service through Endomondo, a Danish firm. "If you're a
runner (or bicyclist) and you have one of these smart phones, you
can press start when you run and when you stop it shows where you
went, how fast you went, all that stuff," Gusky said.
"I actually got rid of my second car now that I've decided to
bike," said Gusky, who was also spurred to biking by $4 per gallon
gas and now logs about 3,000 miles annually.
"For me, it's really about staying healthy," he said.
Saving money and helping the environment is a bonus.
"It feels like the right kind of thing we should be doing,"