Taavi Rutishauser has been a cyclist all his life. A driver and trainer for Quebec’s Canadian American Transportation (C.A.T.), Rutishauser takes his bike everywhere he goes. He rides with a folding bike that fits neatly between his seat and his dashboard.
In the winter, when his runs take him down to Laredo, Texas, he brings his mountain bike with him to ride with locals down there.
Rutishauser rides his bike in his downtime, whether he’s waiting on a restart or unwinding from the workday.
“I ride as often as I can,” he says.
A long history with cycling
As a teen, Rutishauser raced mountain bikes. From age 20 to 25, he worked as a bike messenger in Montreal, leaving the job to pursue a career in trucking.
“Trucking was a dream for me,” he says. “I like the traveling. I needed a job. And, I needed a change, so I jumped into trucking.”
Rutishauser has had a CDL trucking job for 16 years and has a million safe miles in the last 10 years. However, It didn’t take long for Rutishauser to gain weight after starting his CDL trucking job. After five years on the road, he was too soft around the middle for his own liking.
In 2007, Rutishauser started cycling again. Over time, Rutishauser has shed 80 pounds from cycling. Today, he’s more reinvigorated by the sport than ever, often riding between 50 and 100 miles a week.
Building a cycling community at his company
In 2015, Rutishauser approached C.A.T. about launching a cycling program for the 100 truck drivers who work out of the company’s main terminal. Managers loved the idea and set about implementing it.
Now the C.A.T. Health and Wellness Program, as it is called, allows C.A.T. truck drivers at the company’s main terminal to purchase folding bikes at Dumoulin Bicyclettes in Montreal at a discount. If a driver wants to finance the bike, C.A.T. finances up to $1,000 without interest. In addition, the company even pays for bike helmets for all drivers in the program.
And the initiative has been a huge success. Of the 100 drivers in the main terminal, 10 percent have bought bikes through the program.
Benefits of cycling
Since he got back into cycling in 2007, Rutishauser has dropped from 260 pounds to 190 pounds. But there are other upsides to the pastime than weight loss.
“Besides the fitness, cycling takes a lot of the stress out of my job,” Rutishauser says. “I can let all the steam out. I’m a lot calmer and more relaxed at the end of the day. It’s also a great way to see the country.”
In addition, Rutishauser has seen a lot of the country through cycling. From country roads and farmers markets to rocky trails and residential streets, Rutishauser has enjoyed every turn. For exampke, some of his favorite spots include trails near Nashville, Tenn., and Danville, Va.
“You can do a little bit of everything with a bike on your truck,” he says. “I buy groceries or go sightseeing, even if it’s an hour or two in the evening. It never gets old.”
Overall, sometimes you have to express yourself and see where it takes you. What other programs have you had a hand in creating at your employer, drivers? Join our community here and tell us about it.
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