Sunday, June 3, 2012

Riding the Path to Wellness

A lot of people were “geared” up for this Sunday’s TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship, and UnitedHealthcare was no exception. For the third consecutive year, we sponsored Team UnitedHealthcare, and I’m proud to say that one of our riders placed 8th today. But, I’m also proud that when not racing, our riders serve as health and wellness ambassadors to local schools, children’s hospitals and YMCAs across the country, talking about the health benefits of exercise and proper nutrition. Earlier in the week, several of the riders held a cycling clinic for seventh graders at the KIPP Philadelphia Charter School, showing them how to eat and work out like a pro to build strength and endurance.

These kinds of interactive events give kids a chance to see cycling as a fun, easy way to get fit. But its benefits go even further. Cycling lets you go places, while benefitting the environment at the same time. Last week on National Bike to Work Day, Philadelphia Mayor Nutter led a group of riders around the city, telling the crowd “You are one of the reasons why Philadelphia has the largest number of folks who bike to work of any major city in the United States of America.” Now that’s something to be proud of. With the increased number of bike paths in the city and the recent summer-like weather, I’ve definitely noticed more people commuting on bikes. And, not just young people or those wearing stretchy cycling togs, but baby boomers too, toting brief cases and groceries.

Creating dedicated bike lanes in our cities is certainly an important step toward promoting cycling in our cities. But, taking a page from Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Portland and other bicycle-friendly cities, we not only need to encourage cycling from an early age, but continue to keep our kids riding throughout their lives, even beyond the lure of the driver’s license.

I have also seen the restorative powers of cycling. For a number of years, it has been UnitedHealthcare’s honor to sponsor Ride2Recovery, an organization enabling veterans to participate in biking challenges throughout the country. With specially adapted bikes, cycling has been a catalyst in both the physical and psychological healing for veterans who participate. Ride2Recovery helps them regain independence and a sense of well-being. To witness the joy and camaraderie among our nation’s finest, leaves a lasting impression.

So hats off to the Team UnitedHealthcare cyclists who took time from their training schedule to spend time with our youth.  At the TD race, I was thrilled to see, among the huge crowd that had gathered on such a beautiful day, so many parents and children of all ages who had ridden their bikes to cheer on the riders.

While the vast majority of us can only dream of performing like these cyclists, or those in the upcoming Olympics or the Tour de France, adding more wheel power in our lives is certainly an idea worth putting in motion.  To learn more about cycling and UnitedHealthcare’s cycling team log onto

The UHC Cycling Team visits with seventh graders at the KIPP Philadelphia Charter School 


  1. I started riding my bike to work because of the traffic, now I would never drive my car to work again.
    Cycling has brought me many benefits, I'm more healthy and makes me feel proud of myself to help the environment!

  2. Yes! Cycling has many benefits and you have certainly identified the top two...keep on peddling! All the best Charlie.