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Jessica Wall’s Blog

May rolls in with Bike to Work Week

Jessica Wall

Posted May 17, 2010 in Living Sustainably

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May 17th marks the beginning of Bike to Work Week, when people from all over the country are encouraged to step out of their cars and onto a bike.  And as Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, declared in March, we are at a turning point in the US’s transportation policy: “This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”  Those are wonderful words to hear, considering the sizable benefits that biking brings to a community, including:

  •  Lessened amounts of noise, air and water pollution:  Fewer cars on the road means less auto fluid being leaked onto the roads and into our storm drains, a reduced amount of smog obscuring our skylines, and quieter neighborhoods.
  • Increased accessibility to a wide array of income brackets: Those that cannot afford a car and the funding needed to maintain one can more easily afford a bicycle.  You don’t pay anything to park a bike and the high costs of gas are a thing of the past when you adopt a cycling lifestyle.  All that money that you’re saving can be spent supporting local businesses and fueling the economic recovery.
  • Reduced need for space:  Ten to twelve bikes can fit in a single parking space, and the price of a bike rack is a fraction of the cost of a car parking space.  ($2200-$12,500 for a single car vs. $150-$300 for a rack that can fit two bikes)  All those unnecessary parking spaces can be easily converted to green areas to provide more natural spaces in our cities.
  • Better public health: Want to live longer? One study found that men that bike to work had a mortality rate 39% lower than their non-biking counterparts, even after adjustment for other risk factors. And in a nation with steadily rising obesity rates, any excuse to increase activity should be embraced (especially when no gym membership is required).

Even if it’s just for a week, give biking to work a try. You'll get some exercise, save money, and reduce your ecological footprint in the process. Maybe you'll even have fun.

 For more information on Bike to Work Week events in your community, check out the listing on the League of American Bicyclists website.

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Comments

M'lou ArnettMay 17 2010 07:07 PM

I love the idea of bike-to-work week and was unaware of it until I ready your post - - thanks. I'm going to try this. Probably not until June when the days get long enough and the weather is more consistently warm in my area. I need to figure out how to haul my laptop back and forth without messing up my balance or endangering my laptop. Suggestions would be most welcome. I'm also looking for any suggestions on how to "freshen up" for the work day w/o a shower since I have to ride 15 uphill miles to the office! Keep the tips coming and thanks again.

Jim FindlayMay 17 2010 09:43 PM

Glad to hear you'd like to bike to work! I've commuted by bike quite a bit and have a few suggestions. Best option is to install a rear rack and saddlebags called panniers that hook onto the rack. this puts the weight low and on the bike not your back. This is the best handling option and some bags are designed for the laptop. second option is a backpack. Third is a messenger bag. If you don't have a shower, you can use baby wipes. I take a few sets of clothes to work on Monday and commute three or four days the rest of the week typically. it's a great way to start the day. I have my hours set to work 7 to 4 and that gets me a little out of sync with regular rush hour, but have friends who commute during rush hour by taking side roads as much as possible. Enjoy your ride! Thanks for commuting!

Dr.J. SingmasterMay 18 2010 01:49 AM

Another thing having much bigger impact forr the environment and public health would be for everyone at NRDC and anyone reading this posting would be to call on federal officials to pass a law establishing a national waste strategy agency. Our massive ever-expanding messes of organic wastes and sewage are going to be overwhelming our children's future, if we do not start getting control of them soon. It is time to think of bigger actions than bicycling to work as we can make those messes into a resource to get some clean energy and especially to get the germs, toxics and drugs in them destroyed so that they can not be getting into our water supplies. Remember that late last year, EPA announced that it was going to be setting limits on some drugs showing up in drinking water

Lisa WatsonMay 18 2010 12:45 PM

I've been wanting to bicycle to my job and I had heard about bicycle to work week and completely forgot. I finally woke up early enough today and yesterday to bike to work without realizing it's Bike to Work Week.

I have been wearing my jeans while I ride and change into a different shirt. I live in New Orleans, so it is already hot! I think I'm going to start wearing shorts. I started to put baby powder on before heading out and when I get in a sweaty and shiny. I don't really use body sprays but I find they help when I'm sticky and hot. As the summer wears on, I may not even wear a bra until I get to work. Sorry if TMI, I'm not a buxom gal. Otherwise, perhaps taking a "sailor" bath when you arrive. I haven't looked but I'm sure there are clothing pieces that help wick away sweat.

Sorry for the rambling and happy trails!

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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