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By Tenley Ross, DVI Intern

Nick Simpson, 24, a Jimmy John's cyclist, stands by his bike that gets him around Downtown on Monday, May 11, 2015. He said he encourages people to use the opportunity of Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 15, 2015, to enjoy Downtown.

Nick Simpson, 24, a Jimmy John’s cyclist, stands by his bike that gets him around Downtown. He said he encourages people to use the opportunity of Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 15, to enjoy Downtown.

When you think of Downtown, you probably think lights, hustle and traffic. What if you could eliminate traffic?

Friday, May 15, is Jacksonville Bike to Work Day. It can seem a little intimidating to ride around Downtown, but we talked to a pro, and actually, he thinks you’re up for the challenge.

Nick Simpson, 24, is one of several Jimmy John’s cyclists for the company’s Laura Street location. When Simpson delivers your food, he knows exactly how to get around and cruise the city streets.

These are his tips on why you should ride your bike to work:

1. How should bike riders react to drivers?

The roads are rarely bumper-to-bumper Downtown, except for big events like Art Walk, he said.

Don’t be worried about drivers, he said. Just know the rules of the road, and follow them. He said for every car taking up the roadway, eight bikes could take its place riding along.

You’re making a difference!

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2. What’s it like riding along sidewalks full of people?

When Nick rides through Downtown’s sidewalks, he said he notices people don’t walk in straight lines. Instead, they’re scattered.  He’s even noticed how there could be like six business men all walking across the width of the sidewalk, all trying to be alpha.

He encourages bike riders to just be patient as pedestrians move along.

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3. Is riding your bike Downtown scary?

There’s no reason to be afraid of Downtown. If you keep your eyes open and stay alert, you’ll get to your destination safely, he said.

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4. But what if it rains?

Nick laughs at this reality.

“You’re not going to die because you get soaked,” he said. Keep your phone hidden, and ride along anyway. It’s too much fun not to.

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5. Finally, it keeps you alive longer, he said.

You’re exercising and taking in the beauty of a city that you otherwise would miss while rushing to work. You’ve got this! Don’t get caught up in how you appear; you’re investing in your health and environment by participating.

You’re working out so great that Nick said, “You get them buns!” Is there really more to add?

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There are two main Jacksonville Bike to Work Day routes coordinated by North Florida Bicycle Club, which are “Ride Start West” and “Ride Start East.”

Ride Start West

Meet at Lakeshore Bicycles (2108 Blanding Blvd.) at 7 a.m., pick up riders at Open Road Bicycles (3544 St. Johns Ave.) at 7:15 a.m. and City Cycle (2740 Park St.) at 7:30 a.m. The group will meet the eastside riders at the Times-Union Center (300 Water St.) at 8 a.m. Both groups will proceed together to arrive at Hemming Park by 8:30 a.m.

Ride Start East

Meet at Open Road Bicycles (4460 Hendricks Ave.) and depart at 7:30 a.m. This group will join the westside riders at the Times-Union Center (300 Water St.) at 8 a.m. Both groups will proceed together to arrive at Hemming Park by 8:30 a.m. Refreshments provided by the North Florida MS Society.

Once you find that you love riding your bike Downtown, we’ve got more routes for you to check out. For more details on Bike to Work Day, and to sign up, visit nfbc.us.

And when it’s all said and done, you can fall asleep knowing you did a great thing by biking to work!

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