Marc Graci is the type of person who likes to set goals for himself. So last summer, he set himself the goal of biking to school every day for the entire 2018-19 school year.
“I just wondered if it would be something I could possibly do–bike to school every day for an entire school year,” Marc said.
A little context: Marc is a middle school math teacher who lives in Campbell and works at Discovery Charter School in San Jose. He started biking to work last August and hasn’t stopped since. While biking to work was challenging in the rainy start to 2019, the weather has cleared up and Marc is looking forward to fully achieving his goal.
“I’ve got a streak going. It’s now mid-April, so I think I’m going to be able to make it through the entire year!” Marc said.
Biking to work fits in naturally with Marc’s active lifestyle. His commute is 8 miles round trip and fits his daily exercise neatly into his schedule. It also connects him with his community.
“I really like how riding on a bike allows me to interact with my environment more,” Marc said. “If I was in a car, I tend to just focus on the destination and I don’t observe my surroundings at all, but if I’m on a bike it allows me to be a little more impulsive. I can take detours or hop off and check something out.”
“I feel like I know a lot more about what’s going on in my community. I see the same people doing the same thing on my route, or I’ll go past the same businesses or just notice little parks or trails, and that’s something I wouldn’t get in a car.”
As a teacher, Marc has even used biking to bring math to life, asking students to calculate rates of speed or looking at different bike paths with his students to compare and contrast different ways of getting to the same place.
“All teachers do bring our personal lives in,” Marc said. “In my case it just happens to be some bicycle-related things.”
While Marc dove headfirst into bike commuting, he knows it can be intimidating and recommends new bike commuters give themselves time to adjust.
“Give yourself some time to get acclimated to it,” he said. It took Marc a couple of weeks to get settled into his routine, to figure out what supplies he needed to clean up once he got to work, and to find the best route.
Silicon Valley certainly isn’t a bad place to start bike commuting.
“I do think Silicon Valley is already pretty bike-friendly,” Marc said. “I think if there’s an improvement to be had, it just might be in how people treat others who are riding on bikes, because there’s a lot of really distracted drivers out there.”
Marc has earned awe from his colleagues, who feel that he’s setting a great example for his students. Multiple nominators noted that Marc is so dedicated, he even biked home from work on a day he felt ill. Marc said biking to work means he has to give up certain conveniences (for example, being able to drive home quickly when sick) but it’s well worth it.
“Once you get into it, it becomes very enjoyable,” Marc said. The staff at SVBC couldn’t have said it any better.
Thank you, Marc, for your dedication to bike commuting, bettering the environment, and inspiring your community!