Let me be one of many to remind you that today marks the beginning of National Bike to Work Week. Here in Chicago, this week’s events are merely a warm-up to our own Bike to Work Week featuring the Bike Commuter Challenge from June 9th through 15th.
In other words, you have two separate weeks to feel guilty about not riding your bike to work…
No matter how into bicycling you may be – hardcore roadie, competitive racer, dirt daredevil, weekend warrior – the idea of pedaling to your workplace may seem completely beyond the realm of possibility. After all, who knows the challenges of arriving and surviving at your place of business better than you? You do battle daily just to arrive on-time and intact. You are all too familiar with the written (and unwritten) rules about proper attire and personal hygiene.
Bicycling to work just may be too difficult for you.
Trust me, I hear you about this. Some jobs require a very specific wardrobe and provide no facilities for a shower prior to slipping into uniform. Some shops and offices are located on roads with high-speed vehicular traffic that inhibit safe cycling. You may travel to and from work in darkness. Your position might entail traversing the country by plane, train, or automobile. You might work too far away from home or just down the hallway from your own bedroom. Not everyone can bike to work.
But we all can bike more often.
Maybe we can bike part of the way to work. Maybe we can spend part of the lunch hour riding around the office campus, a local park, or a nearby forest preserve trail. Maybe we can bike to get lunch or run errands rather than jumping in the car for trips less than two miles. Maybe we can ride to the gym, the library, the café, or numerous other spots within a 5-minute drive of home or work.
Bike to Work Week is about being seen using our bikes for transportation.
The operative part of that phrase is “being seen.” Simply put, the more bikes out on the road, the more likely we are to be noticed by motorists. As motorists become more accustomed to sharing the road with bicycles, the safer bicycling becomes for all of us.
These are the baby steps required to affect meaningful change in how Americans view bicycling as a viable form of transportation. Just last week, America Bikes released results from a Princeton survey that showed 83% of Americans Support Federal Funding for Biking and Walking. Study after study confirms “if we build it, they will come.” Acceptance of bicycling as a serious transportation alternative has begun!
Each of us can do more this week, next week, and every week of the year.
Signing up for the National Bike Challenge is one way we cyclists can demonstrate and document our strength in numbers. By accepting the challenge and logging our miles, we are providing advocacy groups with hard data to reference when pleading our case for infrastructure funding. It only takes a minute or two to register and even less time each day to record your mileage. There is even a chance to win prizes!
This week’s forecast looks to deliver perfect weather for bicycling. Don’t miss out on a single minute of it – get out there and ride!
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