Cycling Superstar #2 – Frank Casilio

Have you ever seen someone cycling past traffic during your rush hour commute and thought, “I’d like to try that, too”? You’re probably aware of the benefits of cycling to work, such as getting exercise and saving money on gas and parking fees, but perhaps you need some motivation from colleagues and fellow cyclists before you replace your four-wheeled vehicle for a two-wheeled ride. Forming a Bicycle User Group (BUG) at your workplace is a great way for beginner and experienced cyclists to share advice and resources about biking to work, while encouraging others to join the fun!

Frank Casilio, Senior Manager of Product Engineering Operations at AMD, took the initiative to reach out to his colleagues and form a “bike to work” group at his workplace. On May 6th, Mr. Casilio and a coworker successfully cycled to work from Stouffville and Markham, respectively, and are planning two “bike to work” days per month. He began his trip in Stouffville, and travelled south on the newly-paved Ninth Line before heading west on the multi-use path on Major Mackenzie Drive, south on Woodbine Avenue, and then west along the Highway 7 bike lanes, for a total of 24 km each way!

Smart Commute MRH asked Mr. Casilio to share some advice to anyone wishing to form a “bike to work group” or BUG at their workplace. Read his answers below!

  1. Start the conversation about commuting by bike with just one person. Eventually, ask others to join you.

    The idea to form an informal “bike to work” group began when Mr. Casilio and a friend discussed how they couldn’t always fit exercise into their day. He says that “we both had biked to work in the distant past and said, ‘why don’t we pick a day in the future and commit to biking into work?’ We thought it would be great to encourage a number of our colleagues to do it also, so we sent emails out to a few people who liked the idea.” 

    As of May 6th, two more people have committed to joining them on the group’s next “bike to work” ride on May 20th

  2. Identify challenges or obstacles prior to the ride, and share them with others. Your colleagues may provide insight into new routes or cycling strategies!

    For Mr. Casilio, cycling down Woodbine Avenue was the largest challenge, because “there is no bike lane. I kept alert and found a small strip of raised asphalt to ride along for most of Woodbine, but had to move to the sidewalk eventually. For Richard [another AMD employee who biked to work on May 6th], the construction near Warden Avenue was an unexpected and challenging issue he had to face.”

    Mr. Casilio said he and Richard shared their experiences with each other following their rides, which resulted in Richard’s decision to try a different route the next time he commutes by bike. Mr. Casilio added, “once [the construction along] Highway 7 is complete, I might try [that road] much earlier than Woodbine, since the dedicated bike lanes are a big plus. 

    In general, you really need to scope out your bike route ahead of time to make sure you know what to expect.” 

  3. Adding an element of friendly competition or personal challenge to the rides will encourage more cyclists to join the BUG and provide incentive to commute by bike. 

    Mr. Casilio has recruited more colleagues who are interested in cycling to work, including an individual whose commute is 34 km each way! Mr. Casilio says the group plans to monitor their progress over time, which is beneficial when setting personal goals and encouraging friendly competition with each other. “We are going to keep track of all of our travel times and see how they change throughout the summer. We are turning it into a little friendly challenge.” 

    He is optimistic that other AMD employees will be inspired to bike to work once they see the support and motivation that a cycling group can provide to new members. “I think our group of people who bike to work will grow throughout the summer. There’s nothing like seeing other people do something that will encourage others to do it also.”

  4. Be prepared for the ride by consulting cycling resources or ensuring your bike is equipped with bells, lights and reflectors. This will show others that cycling to work is not impossible if you plan in advance! 

    Before deciding to cycle to work, Mr. Casilio admitted it seemed like a daunting task. He says “it requires a little bit of planning. For example, I brought my clothes and shower kit* in the day before. You can also add simple things to your bike, like rear view mirrors, reflectors, and lights that really make you stand out within the traffic. The York Region Cycling Handbook was also a great reference.” 

    The benefits of cycling to work are worth the additional time spent preparing for the ride! He notes that “you get great exercise, a leisurely ride and enjoyment of the outdoors all at the same time. You also get to see A LOT more of your community than you would normally get to see, and you find little gems, like restaurants and shops that you probably never noticed before.” 

    *There are showers for employee use on the ground floor of AMD. Contact your Smart Commute Ambassador to see if your workplace includes shower facilities. 

    For more information on forming a BUG in your workplace, or to find cycling resources, maps and instructional videos, visit