28-kilometre commute: Taking bike to work to a whole new level

Steve Hayes rides his bike 28 kilometres to and from work every day, cycling from his home in Amherstburg to his office in Windsor.

Overweight with a severe back injury, Steve Hayes got healthy and got on his bike

Steve Hayes bikes 28 kilometres from his home in Amherstburg to his office in Windsor. (Tony Doucette/CBC)

Steve Hayes has taken the concept of riding a bike to work to a whole new level with his daily 28-kilometre commute from Amherstburg to Windsor.

He makes the journey every day from his suburban home to the parks and recreation office on McDougall Avenue, where he works.

"I would much rather be on my bike than in the car," he told CBC News.

With Bike to Work Day set for Monday, Hayes serves as a shining example of how to ride to work safely. He certainly knows the importance of protective gear.

Weighed more than 200 pounds

The avid cyclist rediscovered his love of biking after deciding he needed to get healthy. Back in 2011, Hayes weighed in at about 200 pounds. Then one day, while toiling in his basement, he fell and injured his back.

Sore and bedridden, he gained even more weight before soliciting help from his daughter, who put him on a healthy diet. Over the next year, he lost more than 70 pounds.

By the time his 50th birthday rolled around, Hayes wanted to get back to cycling. After getting a bike for a present, he ambitiously decided to ride to work.

That first day, he didn't wear a helmet and quickly realized he was quite exposed to the elements and could get easily injured. Before taking another trip, he bought a helmet.

Helmet saved his life

On his second day of riding to work, Hayes was clipped on the back by the side mirror of a Ford F250 pickup truck, knocking him flying over his handlebars.

"I remember being in the air, horizontal, about to do the somersault onto the road and I was thinking to myself: I just got hit by a car," he recalled.

Without a doubt, Hayes knows the helmet he bought just days before that second trip saved his life.

That accident certainly hasn't slowed him down. Hayes rides his bike to work every day he can.

"It's gotta be pretty extreme weather for me to take the car to work," he said.

The annual Bike to Work Day ride, put on by the Windsor Bicycling Committee, starts at 6:45 a.m. in front of Goodlife Fitness at Devonshire Mall.

Riders set out at 7 a.m. riding along Grand Marais drain trail before moving through the quiet streets of south Walkerville and then along the riverfront trail.

The ride wraps up at CBC at Riverside and Crawford around  8 a.m., when a complimentary bagel breakfast with coffee, juice and fresh fruit will be served.