The idea started 25 years ago, when he routinely saw a co-worker biking to work.
But the logistics seemed unworkable. How do you get to meetings? What if you have to go to another office? What do you do if you need to shower?
At the time, his thought was: “I can’t,” said Manochehr Allaei, Director of Facility and Technology for the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement.
So he started asking for tips and ideas from other co-workers and groups of people who routinely walked or biked to work, and he gave it a try. After some trial and error, he found a way to make it work for him.
Now, he couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“If I don’t do it, I truly won’t be the same,” Manochehr said.
“Biking and walking is doable in my experience for anyone who wants to do it. It’s just a matter of how much you want to do it.”
Over the years, Manochehr has alternated between biking and walking to work. He enjoys both, but finds that walking is the best exercise for him.
And yes, he walks and bikes all year long – when it’s snowing, when it’s raining, when it’s hot and humid and when it’s below freezing. Initially, he would stop during the winter months, but he found ways to keep going by buying the right clothing. After an encounter with ice one winter on his bike, he began walking only during the icy times.
This past winter, when temperatures dropped well below freezing, he continued walking, despite the objections of his friends and loved ones. With all the layers he wore, he was fine – except for when his eyelashes froze.
But he does keep enough cash on him to ride the bus, just in case he needs to, he said.
For Manochehr, walking and biking make him feel healthier, but he isn’t doing it to just for that. Being able to exercise each morning allows him to be able to focus better at work, be a better listener and not feel rushed, he said.
“I don’t do it for losing weight or being healthy. If I don’t do it, I think I would be too hyper. It makes me feel good,” he said.
He also wishes others would do the same, especially on his daily walks when he sees most cars with only one person inside, he said.
But he also sees how it can help people throughout their work day, he said.
“It gets you ready for whatever destination you are going to, you can think through projects or stuff at home,” he said.
And he suggests people look for even small ways to start, such as parking off campus and walking to their office.
“It is a choice,” he said.
Join Manochehr on Friday and ditch your car, grab your bike, lace up your walking shoes or carpool to work for Car Free Day Indy!