By Deanna Duff, Special to The Herald
Art Grossman often starts his day early. Sometimes he enjoys the sunrise during trips through Everett’s Forest Park. He might be on his way to teach at the local YMCA, run errands at the post office or visit his grandkids.
He frequently commutes 20 to 40 miles daily. Unlike most people, his transportation is on two wheels rather than four.
Grossman bicycled 14,106 miles in 2013. By November, he had already far surpassed his original goal of 13,000.
“I just want to be on the bike consistently, every day that I can, and enjoy it,” he says. “I like visiting places I probably wouldn’t normally go, such as Snoqualmie Falls or the tulip fields (in Skagit Valley).”
The 67-year-old family medicine doctor retired last summer from Western Washington Medical Group, where he remains known for walking his talk — or biking his talk — when it comes to personal fitness.
“Cycling is a good option because it’s low impact and you can do it pretty much anywhere,” Grossman said. “It’s pretty all-around good exercise to help keep healthy and also offers social aspects if you do it with a group.”
He has always enjoyed biking, but adopted it more as a lifestyle 12 years ago when an injury sidelined him from running. More than half his travel is transportation around town and as far as Seattle. The rest is endurance training. He plans to participate in Wenatchee’s 100-mile Apple Century ride in June and hopes to win a lottery spot to ride in this year’s 149-mile RAMROD, Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day.
Everett residents more often see him wearing his signature white helmet and pedaling than in a car. With only 4,000 miles behind the wheel last year, he logged 3.5 times as many miles biking as driving. While that’s impressive, he nonetheless considers himself moderate compared to others who bike 300 to 400 miles nonstop.
“I know people even crazier than me!” Grossman said with a laugh.
“I’m not going to that level, so I wouldn’t expect everyone to adopt my lifestyle, either. I don’t want people to just focus on me and how many miles I do. I just hope it maybe encourages people to get on a bike and try it.”
In addition to being a role model, he has championed bicycle use through municipal channels. Grossman was a longtime member of Everett’s Park Board in the 1980s.
He remains a passionate advocate for creating safer, more extensive and better-connected bike routes in Snohomish County. He would like to see more community outreach and education to encourage families and children.
Grossman has no plans to slow down, but is not setting a mileage goal for 2014. He wants his riding to remain a pleasure rather than becoming a task. It’s his time to see neighborhoods with new eyes, pedal past I-5 traffic jams and sing whatever song pops into his head. He typically rides alone, but might enjoy more company in coming years.
His oldest grandchild recently turned 3 and is learning to ride.
“She sits on the front of the bike with her dad and we’ve all ridden together,” Grossman said. “She’s learning and I’m working to plant that seed!”