This Friday, May 17th is National Bike to Work Day. Here in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area there are 70 pit stops throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia. In 2001, only a few hundred participated, but over 12,000 participated last year. I was one of those participants and I had a blast!
Last year, I saw lots of people on bikes and many who typically don’t ride. Bikes, bikes, bikes, everywhere I looked I saw bikes! What a joy! I met one lady while riding along, asked where she was going and it turned out we were both riding to NIH that day. We chatted the last few miles of our commute together and time just flew by! The commute felt shorter than usual and I really enjoyed getting to know someone new. When we arrived at the NIH campus, we were greeted with coffee, some light snacks, prizes, and music. I can’t think of a better way to start the work day.
Above: NIH Bike to Work Day
One of my friends asked me why I participated in Bike to Work Day, especially if I ride my bike to work every day anyway. So what makes Bike to Work Day special? That is a great question. Although I am committed to riding on most days of the week, not everyone else has the “know how” or the skills yet to try it out. Bike to Work Day is a great way to bring awareness to active commuting. It provides a great way for people to start thinking about alternate modes of transportation. People who are a new cyclists, new to bike commuting, or just want to learn more can check out DC’s Bike to Work website. The website includes some great information on all of the pit stops available in the DC Metro area as well as some ideas about how to get involved. For information on Bike to Work Day in your area, or to arrange your own group, visit the League of American Bicyclists National Bike Month page.
Riding to work can cause fitness to sneak up on you too! Without even really thinking so much about exercising, commuting by bike, even just a couple days of the week will slowly start to build your fitness. It is a great way to get two things done at once – commute to work and get your physical activity in! Also, riding a bike either for recreation or for commuting automatically engages you in a community no matter where you live, work, or play.
Above: To Bike or Ride?
But beyond all of that, it is just plain fun. Riding bikes is fun. You get to see all sorts of things on your ride that you might not see from your car. What a joy! Once you have your route mapped out and ride it a few times, the bike commute can be as easy as hopping in your car.
Above: My friend and I getting ready for a long ride.
Imagine a commute that includes more bikes than cars. If you can’t imagine it, check out what a morning rush hour in the 4th largest city in the Netherlands looks like: Bicycle Rush Hour.
Above: You never know what you will see or who you will meet while out riding your bike.
What are you doing for Bike to Work Day tomorrow? Share your stories!