Champion Commuter

Thomas Johnson - Airway Heights Correction Center

Thomas is a Correctional Officer at Airway Heights Correction Center. Thomas has been riding his bike to work for many years. Living on the westside he used to ride his bike from Tacoma to Ft. Lewis each day, that’s a 36-mile commute! Later while working at Kaiser in Tacoma, he would ride his bike 14 miles to work daily.

He was often questioned on why he would consider such a long commute by bicycle. He would reply, “because I can” and “It makes me feel better”.

When he moved to Spokane in early 2022 and began working at Airway Correction Center. He hadn’t been a regular bike rider for a few years, but gas prices were soaring, and they were down to one car due to an accident, so Thomas started walking the 5 miles one-way into work. After the first week of walking, he decided to get a new bike and start riding again. He’s been riding nearly every day since.

Thomas doesn’t feel he has any challenges to overcome by riding his bike into work. He will ride in extreme heat or bone chilling temperatures. The only time he won’t ride is if there’s freezing rain where there are sheets of ice.

Last September Thomas had a pretty significant crash on his way into work. He fractured his left humerus “not so funny”. He got up, called work to let them know he wouldn’t be in and walked his bike back home. But, as soon as he was cleared to ride again on December 19th, he was back to riding to work.

ETC, Lorene Hansen, says “Thomas sets a great example for our staff. Last winter when there was 17” of snow on the ground and the temperatures were -4, employees would walk into the facility and see Thomas’s bike locked to the bike rack. He’s a real inspiration for our staff to see”.

Congratulations Thomas!