Dying to get out

September 11 Year of Turmoil

First & 10 2002

Our Town 2002

Doctor a model for Hindmanís challenge week
Trumbower enjoys riding bike to work.

Published Thursday, April 25, 2002

On a good morning, Bill Trumbowerís 20-minute commute to work takes closer to half an hour.

The good mornings come when Trumbower, an obstetrician, gets to ride his bike from his home on Fairview Road to his office at the Broadway Medical Plaza. He catches the MKT Nature/Fitness Trail at Twin Lakes Recreation Area and rides it all the way to Providence and Stewart roads in central Columbia. Then he cuts through the MU campus and heads on to the hospital.

Don Shrubshell photo
Bill Trumbower rides his bike along the MKT Nature/Fitness Trail today on his way to work at Broadway Medical Plaza. Trumbower plans to participate in the Mayorís Challenge Bike, Walk and Wheel Week, which begins Sunday.
The one-way, six-mile ride usually takes only a few minutes more than navigating Columbiaís bumper-to-bumper rush hour in a car. He doesnít have to deal with traffic snarls, and aside from the occasional rain shower, he said, the commute is one of the best parts of his day.

"Riding my bike in is not about health and fitness," he said after riding home yesterday. "Itís mental and emotional. I canít fit in fancy bike clothes. The pants and all donít fit me. But it liberates me to say, ĎHey, I can bike to work.í "

That liberating feeling is one of the reasons Mayor Darwin Hindman advocates biking or walking to work, he said. The park- and trail-happy mayor is an outspoken advocate for alternative transportation, and he is at the forefront of Bike, Walk and Wheel Week, which kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday at the new Flat Branch Park downtown.

"The mayorís challenge is to encourage people to get to walk or ride or wheel somewhere as much as possible during that week," Hindman said. "The idea is to see if you canít find a way to go somewhere by walking or wheeling or riding. If nothing more, go around the block."

The idea to start biking to work struck Trumbower when, in his 50s, he had a revelation: It was time to live life at a slower pace. So, he bought a bike and a collapsible fishing rod. He hasnít looked back since.

While his workday can be stressful, Trumbower said he feels rejuvenated when he bikes home. He is also one of the few people in Columbia who can appreciate how Chapel Hill Road got its name.

"Chapel Hill is a real hard hill to go up, and it took a couple weeks to go up without stopping," he said. He said he gained a sense of accomplishment when he finally made it up the hill without walking his bike.

"I have a lifetime of inactivity, like so many people, but you get older and you start wanting to do more," he said. Biking almost daily has made him feel healthier and stronger, he said.

Trumbower also has an important tip for people who want to bike in Columbia.

"The thing I would tell everyone - because I watch everyone biking on the trail and around town - my God, wear a helmet." Dangerous falls, he said, can happen anywhere.

Bicyclists should also have reflectors or lights when riding in the dark, said Barbie Miller of Tryathletics. When riding in the street, she said, they should stay close to the curb and use hand-turn signals. Drivers should look for bikes at intersections and be careful when passing them.

Trumbower feels safest riding on Columbiaís growing trail network.

"I remember when the mayor started this, and I thought: ĎThis is stupid.í Now, itís the biggest plus Iíve ever seen," he said.

Information on Bike, Walk and Wheel Week can be found on the cityís Web site at  or on the PedNet site at

Reach Katie Tiernan at (573) 815-1731 or





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