Frazier Rehab Sports Medicine Athlete of the Month: John Timm, PT

To recognize the outstanding athletic achievements and healthy lifestyles of our employees, Frazier Rehab Sports Medicine has created an Athlete of the Month spotlight. Through this new spotlight, employees share about their athletic successes – hopefully inspiring others to get active!

Congratulations to John Timm, PT, who selected as the September Frazier Rehab Athlete of the Month. John enjoys a variety of sports, and recently he and his son hiked the Sheltowee Trail Trace. John is also an avid cycler, and our spotlight shares how he got his start commuting by bike to work!

How long have you been participating in this sport?  I started riding my bike to work as a soccer referee at age 12, so, 36 years on and off.

Why did you select this sport/activity and how did you get your start? About 10 years ago, I started riding more regularly to do my part for reducing CO2 emissions. I am happy to get the exercise and be outside, and have been pleasantly surprised by how much less car maintenance I've had to deal with.

What is your skill level? There's no special skill required to bike to work, as long as you learn some basic rules of the road. Most bicycle accidents are related to people riding on the sidewalk, not the road, so I am always on the road or a dedicated path. Obviously, there are still places that just aren't safe for bikes no matter how visible you are.

What kind of training is required to be successful? If someone is interested in starting commuting by bicycle, I would recommend doing a little research. In general, test-ride potential routes on a Saturday or Sunday, and start with only one day a week. There are a lot of great rechargeable head- and taillights available now that are impossible to not see.

What do you like best about this sport? My favorite thing about commuting by bicycle is the 25 minutes or so of blowing off steam between work and family time. I get home feeling good and have had a little time to process things before greeting my family. On my way to work, the ride gets me energized for the day and I have a chance to hear and see some birds and neighbors with their dogs, and sometimes sunrises or fog in a way that I tend to miss when I'm in the car. In the winter, the peace and quiet of a dark, snowy morning can be really extraordinary.  

How much time do you commit to the sport? Since I get about 40-90 minutes of cardio from commuting to work and around town most days, I do almost no cardio otherwise. I swim in the summer, but I don't tend to last very long! I do a little strength training, but a lot of weeks my commuting is my only real exercise.

What is the most physically challenging aspect of the sport?  My route isn't super hilly, so it can be pretty leisurely. I usually push a little harder than needed just to get my heart rate up. Going up hills or into the wind are the only real physical challenges. The cold, grey, dreary days can be hard to start out in, but I'm always glad I did once I get warmed up. On really wet days, I like to have dry socks to put on for the way home, but that's really more of a psychological challenge!

Have you experienced/overcome related injuries? I have not had any injuries from cycling, knock on wood. As a Physical Therapist, I must say I almost never see cyclists in the clinic either.

Was there a person who encouraged or influence you to begin, continue or take the sport to a higher level? As a spectator of cycling, I am amazed what the Tour de France athletes and Ironman Triathletes do. They are a real inspiration. As a commuter, I'm impressed by a woman in my neighborhood who commutes 365 days a year. I'm pretty quick to drive if I just don't feel like riding, if it's pouring down rain, or gets below 20 degrees.

Has your sport impacted the way you work with, or given you tactics to motivate your patients?  Most of my patients probably think I'm nuts for riding my bike to work, so it might have a counterproductive effect on my credibility as a therapist! I find myself explaining to a lot of people that I have a short, safe commute.

Any sport-related personal goals?  I hope to be able to do an Ironman when my schedule is a little lighter, probably when my kids are grown. My biggest goal is to be able to still participate in cycling throughout my life. I am always inspired to see the old timers in the Louisville Bicycle Club and out on the roads.

Anything else you’d like to share? The more bicyclists there are in a given neighborhood or city, the safer it tends to be to ride a bike. This is because drivers are expecting to see cyclists more, and more drivers are also riding some days. I definitely drive more relaxed in the car now and am rarely feeling as rushed as I used to. I'm happy to see our city increasing bike lanes and paths so more people can commute by bike at least some of the time.