The first thing Fraser Cunningham does when he gets to work in the morning is de-ice. After biking nearly two hours in the harsh Cincinnati winter, his 16-inch beard — which his wife calls his “chinsulation” — is usually covered in icicles. Last week, on a morning when the temperature was 10 below zero, Cunningham’s eyes froze open midride. He has a car, but it’s going to take a lot more than frozen eyeballs to get Cunningham to drive to work.
“Only in an absolute, dire emergency,” Cunningham told The Cincinnati Enquirer last week.
The local paper spotlighted the 56-year-old General Electric engineer, who has been commuting by bike for the past 10 years and hasn’t missed a day since July 22, 2013. That may seem like some kind of record, but Cunningham is still a few months shy of beating his own record streak of 20 1/2 months of daily bicycle commuting.
Cunningham told The Enquirer that he decided to start biking to work as a means of quelling his growing concerns about aging. Now, a decade later, he says, “It’s a lifestyle.”
Equipped with layers of heavy-duty warming gear and special gloves he has attached to the fat-tired bike he rides in the winter, it’s the espresso machine on his desk that really keeps him going. After a while, not even the most high-tech apparel can withstand the bitter cold of a midwestern winter morning.
“That’s when I start thinking about my espresso,” Cunningham said.