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Vancouver Coastal Health Commuter of the Year!

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Congratulations Matt Fieldwalker: cardiovascular perfusionist, VGH, Vancouver Coastal Health.

Matt’s Commuter or the Year Nomination was listed in the category of Superhero and included this inspiring claim:

“It makes perfect sense to ride. Low stress, free parking, good for the environment and good for me. … It was a win x4! CBC even interviewed me on the news one night when I was riding home in a snowstorm. I told them it was a beautiful night and I was just glad to not be in a car in traffic!”

From Matt

“I work at VGH in the operating room as a cardiovascular perfusionist. Basically, my role is as a specialist in circulating blood outside the body. The heart lung bypass machine and ECMO (extra corporeal membrane circulation) circuit are typical examples of this.”

Q. What inspires you to cycle to work?

“For one thing, I find the idea of car commuting dreadful so it’s really an easy choice to bike! I hate traffic, I hate looking for and paying for parking, I hate air pollution. Biking seems so much more simplified. Cost wise it’s also a drop in the bucket.

“That said, I am lucky to have a beautiful commute, and sometimes when time permits, I take a more scenic route home to enjoy the day. Lastly, riding a bike is fun!”

Q. How has your employer supported your choice to cycle to work?

“Demonstrating a shocking level of services with the Commuter Center in Jim Pattison Pavilion and now with VGH Cycling Centre, there is a dream facility here for bikes. My morning highlight is the door opening up automatically for me. Also, having VGH located on a bike route is an extra perk that makes everything easier.”

Q. What tops your “wish list” for cycling improvements at your workplace?

“The current bike centre has automatic doors, cameras, great change rooms, intermittent free swag and gratis bike clinics/repairs. I’m pressed to come up with more, since the current set up is so good. How about a hot breakfast? I hear St. Paul’s could probably use a better bike room as well.”

Q. How have you inspired any colleagues to cycle (or not drive) to work?

“Most of my colleagues in the operating room cycle. The high level of acceptance makes it easier, I think, for some of the non-cyclists to start giving it a try. Also, I tell whoever will listen that they will undoubtedly like it better once they’ve made the adjustment. Start on a sunny day and gradually invest in kit until you can make a go of it any day or condition.”

Q. What training or education might the health authority offer to improve your (and your colleague’s) capacity to cycle to work?

“That’s a toughie. I think VGH is already doing all these things: info on bike routes, suggestions for appropriate bike and clothing choices, some signage educating about cycling hand signals, etc. How about telling the diesel work trucks coming here not to idle when they are sitting parked? (There is often one beside the bike centre.)”

Q. Ingenuity: What one bike commuting tip can you share with your colleagues?

“Plaster your bike and helmet with reflective stickers (sold at MEC, easy and cheap) and get an absurdly bright jacket. Drivers tend to only see other drivers, so not being seen by vehicular traffic is always our biggest danger.”