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Pedal power: Somerset man commutes by bike

Richard Baillargeon bikes between Somerset and Osceola almost every day, when the weather is decent.

When Richard Baillargeon heads to work in the morning, he usually doesn't start up his car.

Instead, the Somerset resident heads up the road on his bike.

For the past four years, Baillargeon has been commuting to work at UFE Inc. in the unconventional way.

For awhile he biked to his job with the company in Stillwater, Minn. When he was transferred to UFE's Osceola office, he kept up the practice.

"It's good exercise," he said. "And there's nothing better than leaving the car at home."

The daily trip, which is about 14 miles one way, takes Baillargeon a little under an hour each way.

Even if it's threatening rain, Baillargeon usually commutes by bicycle.

"I've got good rain gear," he said. "I'm well prepared."

He doesn't bike much during the heart of winter, but he will head out occasionally on a cold day if the weather looks good.

"But those three months of the year I usually don't bike much," he admitted.

Heading to work on a bike can be a little more dangerous than using a car, but Baillargeon said you just need to be equipped with the right stuff.

He wears a backpack which has reflective material on it so that motorists can see him even if it's dark or stormy.

That's not as much of an issue in the summer, when there is plenty of daylight in the morning and afternoon. But in the fall and spring, Baillargeon said, he's often riding in the dark at some point.

"I have good lights on my bike. You just need to make sure your visible," he said. "And you just have to pay attention to what you're doing."