By BOB NORBERG / THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Pauli Frey is no fair-weather cyclist.

Pauli Frey, left, mentors Isiah Chass in the sport of competitive cycling. (COURTESY OF SONOMA COUNTY BICYCLE COALITION)

The Santa Rosa resident commutes to work 40 to 50 miles a day, rain or shine or darkness. He hasn’t owned a car in 20 years and doesn’t even ride in one more than twice a month.

“I just have a love for riding my bike, and I guess I really never had a desire for being in a car,” said Frey, 43. “I have built my whole life around a bike, how I get ready for work, and I watch the weather. I am just not a motorist, I know in our society that is an unusual thing.”

Frey is a special education instructional assistant at McDowell Elementary School in Petaluma and a mechanic at Bike Czar in Santa Rosa.

He also ran a program at Sierra School of Sonoma County, teaching at-risk teens how to repair and maintain bikes.

“I just love riding, I enjoy encouraging other people to ride, the smells and the sounds and the people,” Frey said. “I would not have it any other way.”

For all of that, Frey has been named the Bike Commuter of the Year by the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition.

“He has been nominated for a number of years, but this year we became aware of work with kids, at-risk kids, using bikes as tools and vocational education, to get them inspired,” said Sandra Lupien, Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition outreach director.

Frey said he appreciates the recognition.

“For me it is my lifestyle, I do it day-in an day-out and most people do not understand what I do,” Frey said.

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 orbob.norberg@pressdemocrat.com.