An Ex’cycle’ling Alternative

For Bob Marconi, interim dean of the Integrated Technology Division at Western Technical College, the outdoors is a place to get away from the daily grind.

“We have great bike trails through the marsh in La Crosse,” Marconi said. “I can see and hear waterfowl, birds, and just the enjoy the beauty of our surroundings.”

That’s why whenever he can, he uses a bicycle for his method of transportation.

“When driving a car, I have to focus on the other vehicles and my driving,” he said. “I do not get to hear the wildlife.”

Despite his busy schedule at Western, Marconi can usually be seen riding a bike. Even when that job takes him to the Vehicle Technology Center on the north side of town, he’s always on the bike.

“I often say, ‘Bob Marconi is a machine,’” said Wendy Brownell, a co-worker of Marconi. “I am impressed with his drive and motivation to get physical activity in whenever possible.”

Marconi takes advantage of Western’s Bike Share program, which began as a pilot program last year. Currently, six bicycles are available for employees at select locations on the La Crosse campus. Individuals who participate in the program are asked to sign a waiver. Following that, users are free to use the bikes to travel between campus buildings.

Roughly ten Western employees currently use the service, but organizers hope more will soon join.

“Riding a bike not only benefits the individual by improving their overall health, it helps with the individual’s mood,” said Genevieve Mortensen, the organizer for the program. “Western invests in initiatives like this to create a resilient, healthy community that will benefit future generations.”

Marconi says the added time on his bike allows him to better reflect on his day.

“In a very short time, you could arrive in an area that is beautiful and revitalizing,” he said. “Just taking a few minutes to bike to Riverside Park, for example. I find it relaxing.”

“It’s a joy to hear about the sights that he see when he goes for his bike rides,” said Brownell. “He often takes in the beauty of nature such as birds and turtles, and just enjoys being one with nature.”

To learn more about the Bike Share or any other alternative transportation options available at Western, head to