For Tom Farr of Sardinia, bicycles are more than just a way to get exercise or for transportation. Back in the 1990s, he became somewhat of a collector and owned seven different bikes. More recently, he built his own custom bike.

Tom’s essay was chosen as the best from among the dozens of entries submitted to Independent Health’s contest to celebrate National Bike Month in May. He won a prize pack that includes two free registrations to GObike Buffalo’s upcoming SkyRide, two free annual memberships to Reddy Bikeshare, a $200 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods and an Independent Health prize pack. 

Bicycling has a wide range of benefits. “There are so many great reasons to ride a bicycle. Not only is it good for the environment and a fun way to see the sights, but it’s also an excellent and low-impact form of exercise for all ages,” said Michelle Carbery, Senior Corporate Wellness Specialist, Independent Health. “Cycling can help to protect you from serious diseases such as stroke, heart attack, some cancers, depression, diabetes, obesity and arthritis. In fact, people who bike to work or school show fewer risk factors for heart disease and are more fit than other commuters.”

It’s also why Independent Health has partnered with GObike Buffalo on various initiatives throughout the years to make bicycling more accessible and safer in our community. 

“Congratulations to Tom for his award-winning essay. We are thrilled to hear about his reignited passion for cycling, and how his family have begun exploring by bike together,” said Justin Booth, Executive Director, GObike Buffalo. “No one is ever too old to bike, and it’s never too late to start. The joy of the wind in your face and hair as you seize the momentum of a downhill path should be experienced by everyone throughout their lives. We’re proud to continue our work, with the support of Independent Health, to advance accessibility to bikes for children and adults, and design safer streets, roads, trails and greenways to ride, walk, and roll on.”

Here’s Tom’s winning essay:  

As a youth in the 1970’s, bicycles or walking were our main forms of transportation. Back then it was the banana seat bikes that we often modified. Once I obtained my driver’s license, cars became more of a priority. Fast forward to the 1990’s when I stopped at a yard sale and purchased an original Murray Monterey Cruiser (beach cruiser). I was so happy, I rode it home about five miles. From that time, I began to acquire other antique and vintage bikes until I had a collection of seven!

After some years, I realized I had too many bikes and sold all but two. With that money I purchased a Hybrid bike and began riding to and from work (11 miles round trip). Six years ago, I saw a Fat Tire bike, was hooked and bought one for winter riding. My latest, is my ‘covid’ bike. Being furloughed from work during the pandemic, I completed a longtime dream of fabricating my own custom bicycle.

Over time, my wife and daughter have also become interested in cycling. We take our bikes camping; (love to explore!); participate in Ice-cycling; Spin classes; will participate in our second Ride for Roswell and looking forward to some Slow Roll events this year. Initially beginning with a passion for classic bicycles, it has bloomed into so much more! Including – a healthy lifestyle; family bonding; supporting causes and seeing new sights.

Happy Riding!!

“We congratulate Tom on his winning entry, as well as everyone who submitted an essay,” said Carbery, “and we commend everybody on choosing to incorporate a healthy lifestyle through bicycling. We also encourage the community to take advantage of the bicycling resources and opportunities available through GObike Buffalo and Reddy Bikeshare.”