Georgia Tech Biketober Feature: ISyE’s Valerie Thomas

Oct 20, 2021 | Atlanta, GA

Valerie Thomas is the Anderson-Interface Chair of Natural Systems and professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the School of Public Policy. Her research in energy and materials efficiency, sustainability, and industrial ecology, informs her belief that we can positively impact climate change through creativity and innovation, and this produces a person committed to sustainable living, who rides her bike every day and everywhere.    

How long have you been commuting by bike?

Two years. I started commuting using the ride-share bikes.

Why do you choose to commute by bike?

It's faster than walking. Also, biking makes it much easier to get to different meetings around campus.

How far is your commute, and how long does it take you to ride versus drive?

My commute is 1.4 miles, which takes 12 minutes riding slowly. It would take quite a bit more than 12 minutes to drive; first, I would have to drive from my ninth-floor spot in the parking garage attached to my condo building, then I'd have to drive five minutes to campus; finally, I would have to park and walk to my office.

How does your bike commute impact your day?

It gives me a bit of a lift to get outside. Whether getting outside in the morning, or later in the afternoon, it's great to be out.

What practical advice do you have for someone considering commuting by bike?

Get a rack for the back of your bike and pannier bags that hang on each side. That is much easier than trying to get all your things in a backpack.

Where else do you ride, beyond your commute?

Everywhere! I like to ride on the Beltline and other paths and trails; I bike to the Fulton County library on Ponce de Leon Avenue, to volunteer at Free99Fridge in O4W, as well as the Piedmont Park Greenmarket, Trader Joe's, and to church. I take my bike on MARTA out to Sandy Springs and bike the five miles from there to my cousins' house.  

Explore the Student Sustainability Living Guide, which features easy tips you can implement to positively impact the environment.

  • Valerie Thomas
    Valerie Thomas

For More Information Contact: 

Rebecca James