Prime driver comes out on top of company cycling competition

| June 18, 2013
Prime leased owner-operator Mario Almendarez, who rode a total of 538.99 miles to win the carrier's 2013 May Bicycle Challenge. Nearly 30 of the company's operators carry bikes with them on the road.
Prime leased owner-operator Mario Almendarez, who rode a total of 538.99 miles to win the carrier’s 2013 May Bicycle Challenge. Nearly 30 of the company’s operators carry bikes with them on the road.

Mario Almendarez took the lead in Springfield, Mo.-based Prime Inc.’s May 2013 cycling challenge compeition, tracking overall ride mileage over the course of the month, from Ange Mwiseneza during the very last week of the month, adding an incredible 204.59 miles for a total well upward of 500 miles for the month. Mwiseneza finished second with 488.5 miles, while Jeff Schmid came in with a distant third at 155.34 miles.

It all goes to show: getting good exercise on the road can be done, though doing so is contingent on a number of factors. Almendarez, admits that his success this time around was highly dependent on “location and trips. I was lucky to be in the south last month with a lot of short trips and good weather,” he says. “Up north, where I usually run, I probably wouldn’t have done as well.”

Prime Inc. fitness programs coordinator and former owner-operator Siphiwe Baleka
Prime Inc. fitness programs coordinator and former owner-operator Siphiwe Baleka

The monthlong competition was designed by Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness Coach Siphiwe Baleka, himself a formerly leased owner-operator with the carrier who has made news for his own competitive swimming, running and biking. The challenge is put on twice a year to encourage drivers to be more active and further the culture of fitness among Prime’s drivers.

During the Health Trucking Association of America’s April 30-May 2 annual event, Baleka received the HTAA’s Legacy Award for his efforts with fitness programs at the carrier, as Prime driver Melissa Fort was named the Female Healthy Trucker of the Year.

In the cycling challenges, drivers who carry bikes on their trucks utilize smartphone apps to track their rides.

Roy Romo, who finished second last year during the September Bicycle Challenge, finished fourth in this year’s May challenge.

“As a Prime Student Driver Trainer,” Romo says, “I found riding a bike an enjoyable way to see and explore more at the places I travel to, as well as a way to exercise. The bike challenge gave me the incentive to ride more often and farther than I would have otherwise. I encourage every driver to find a way to get out of the truck and exercise as often as you can.”

Last year, Prime and bicycle manufacturer Montague partnered to provide high quality fold-up mountain bikes to the fleet. ”Twenty-eight drivers now carry a mountain bike inside their tractor cabs,” says Baleka, “and more and more drivers are riding.”

Top Driver Results
Mario Almendarez:­ 538.99 miles
Ange Mwiseneza: 488.5 miles
Jeff Schmid: 155.34 miles
Roy Romo: 62.9 miles

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