We’re taking a closer look at some of the ways in which our people choose health in their daily lives. Carl DeBeauclair is a Paid Search Manager and cyclist. He shares insight into how cycling became an important part of his lifestyle, and what he feels are some of the mental and physical health benefits of cycling.

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Tell me about how you started cycling.

I started when I got my first “big-kid bike,” a used track bike I purchased online. It was almost nine years ago when I was in college. I mostly biked for transportation: back and forth to class, going over to friends’ places. Over time cycling became much more of a hobby for me beyond commuting. I got into mountain biking in 2014, and since then it’s just morphed into a real lifestyle for me.

What’s your current bicycle lineup?

Currently I own two mountain bikes, a road bike, a bike for commuting around the city, and a BMX bike that I use for messing around at skate parks. While it may seem like a lot, each bike serves a different purpose and lets me do a different type of riding. For the past three years I have used my PHM Health & Wellness stipend towards purchasing a new bike, something I have really appreciated.

Sounds like you’ve really developed a love for it.

For sure, it’s become a true passion.

How is Philadelphia in terms of being a cycling-friendly city?

I think Philly is a great cycling city. The narrow one-way streets and four-way stops keep traffic at a calmer pace than some other cities. This allows for everyone to share the road—not just cyclists, but scooters, skateboarders.

Outside of that, we have a really involved bike community that caters to every kind of cyclist. We also are fortunate to have access to some beautiful trails and bike parks not far at all from Center City.

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What are some of your favorite spots?

The Wissahickon Trail, definitely. The Belmont Plateau. And of course the Schuylkill Bike Path.

In what ways do you feel that cycling allows you to “choose health?”

For one, riding bikes really helps keep me sane. Being able to just get out and ride has contributed to my mental health in a hugely positive way. By really getting into the physical aspects of cycling and mountain biking, I can create attainable goals that are fun to pursue while also pushing me to train hard and take my health seriously.

At the end of the day though, I still also just love that I have the ability to commute to work via bike every day. That extra bit of exercise gives me such a boost, and having such a centrally-located office with bike storage is huge. A lot of my co-workers ride bikes to and from work as well, and it’s something we are able to really connect on.

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