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One Firefighter Bikes To Work No Matter The Weather; He Has To

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah — As the season starts to change, so do activities you see people doing outside.

“We live in a wonderful place,” said Eric Johnson, while riding his bicycle in Cottonwood Heights.

Johnson is excited spring is coming, but he never let snow stop him from bicycling.

“The colder it gets, I just put on another layer of spandex and I’m happy,” said Johnson with a laugh.

Then again, he’s not biking for recreation.

He’s actually commuting.

Thirteen miles to work in Cottonwood Heights.

Then 13 miles back home to Riverton.

All those miles are for a job where you have to get to something fast.

“I’ve never responded to an emergency call on my bicycle,” he said with another one of his laughs.

Johnson, who is 53 years old, is a firefighter and paramedic for Unified Fire Authority.

He knows it would be easier and safer to drive to work.

“I did fall once on Bengal Boulevard going about 25 miles an hour,” said Johnson.

However, it’s because of his work he needs the mental break bicycling gives him.

“I think people don’t realize the stress involved in seeing people in their most desperate moments day after day,” he said.

Bicycling is an opportunity to clear his mind.

It’s also a way for him to keep in shape, which he really needs.

“I’ve had two heart attacks. The last one was just in December,” he said.

Johnson has a genetic issue that puts him at an increased risk for cardiac problems.

That’s motivation enough to keep pedaling.

“Bicycling saved my life,” said Johnson. “They said if it wasn’t for all the exercise I did, both times I would be dead.”

So, even though winter is fading, he would ride no matter what the weather was.

“I just go nice and slow and steady,” he said.

Johnson’s commute not only helps him feel alive, it also keeps him alive.

“I will continue doing it until I can’t,” he said.”

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