OGDEN -- Going from four wheels to two gets a little more complicated when temperatures dip and snow starts sticking to the ground, but for Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, it's all in a day's work.
In an effort to bring attention to alternative forms of transportation, Caldwell has committed to riding his bike to work every day in 2014 -- rain, shine or otherwise. He announced the resolution in November and made his first pilgrimage by bike on the morning of Jan. 6, in frigid temperatures.
He followed his maiden voyage with three consecutive days of snow and finished the week on Friday, riding through Ogden city streets that were iced over and slushy from the previous day's storm.
"The weather hasn't exactly been ideal," Caldwell said Friday morning, aware of his obvious understatement. "But my dad was a Scout leader for more than 30 years and he used to always tell us, 'There's no such thing as bad weather -- there's only bad equipment.'"
Caldwell lives in the southeast corner of Ogden, near the South Ogden border, so his trek isn't exactly a small one.
"On my way to work, it's not too bad because it's pretty much all down hill," he said. "But then there's the other side of that, when I have to go back home and it's all uphill."
The mayor uses special snow tires on his bike and is able to shower and dress at his office in the Ogden Municipal building. He says the rides give him a nice daily respite to mentally escape from the stress of work.
"It's a chance to get away from ringing phones and obsessing over things I have to do at work and just clear the mind," he said. "Obviously, you're working hard physically (when riding) but afterword you feel refreshed and renewed."
Caldwell said people have already recognized him on his trips to and from work, which is exactly what he wants. His goal is to take Ogden from the bronze level of recognition it received last year to the gold standard of bicycle-friendly communities designated by the League of American Bicycles.
"We kind of just thought this is a way to really bring (alternate transportation) to the forefront," he said. "Instead of constantly talking about it, doing something about it."
Making cycling a priority in Ogden has been a theme in Caldwell's two years in office.
In September of 2013, the city hosted "A Scenic Tour of Utah" -- a 400-mile bike ride designed to showcase Ogden, Weber County and Utah in general, to a mix of Asia's bicycle industry leaders and media.
Before that, Ogden Business Recruitment Relations Manager Steve Fishburn and Caldwell traveled to Taiwan to enlighten Taiwanese bicycle manufacturers on the benefits of setting up shop in Ogden.
In early spring, the Ogden's Public Ways and Parks Division will install six bike repair stations at strategic locations throughout the city.
Caldwell said the city's aim is to turn Ogden into a North American cycling cluster, bringing an interconnected concentration of cycling businesses to the city -- similar to the thriving northern Utah aerospace industry.
Caldwell will be tweeting about his rides and offering tips and advice to other bicycle commuters at his newly launched Twitter feed, @OgdenCityMayor.
When asked if he was already ready for some warmer weather after a week of riding his bike to work in winter conditions, Caldwell said, "The answer to that is an unequivocal yes."
Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.