Did you know that May is National Bike to Work Month? This week is Bike to Work Week, and tomorrow, May 16, 2014 is Bike to Work Day! According to The League of American Bicyclists (since 1880!) more than half of Americans live within 5 miles of their workplace. That makes riding a bike to work doable for a large portion of people today! Even if you wear a pink dress and stiletto heels…
From 2000 to 2011, the number of cycling commuters increased by 47%! The Bike League has a National Bike Challenge, which runs from May 1 to September 30. It's free to sign up, and a fun way to challenge yourself to get on your bike! It's the third year of the Bike Challenge, and in 2013 more than 30,000 riders logged almost 19 million miles! This year they'd like to get 50,000 riders to log 30 million miles. Would you like to be part of that challenge? How about challenging your family and friends to see who can ride the most miles?
Our Ventura store manager, Scott, regularly rides to and from work on his bike. He says that he likes to ride because it reduces stress and gives him a break from the everyday. He doesn't feel like he is just running from one activity to another. It saves on transportation costs, and of course he gets the bonus of some exercise! He also reminds us that it's everyone's responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint, so every time we choose to bike or walk, we do our part to help the planet!
When my kids were in elementary and middle school--all within 3 miles--they rode their bikes to and from school. I'm afraid that I had the reputation as the Meanest Mom in the School because we live on the top of a steep hill, but it's one of the reasons those kids are all healthy (and you can bet that they kicked everyone's bootie on scout hikes). You may have to lobby your schools to make riding to school safer (with safe routes, crossing guards and bike racks), but biking is a great habit for our children.
Is your company a bike-friendly business? Lobby your boss for a place to change your clothes and a rack to secure your bike. Communities are providing bike-friendly infrastructure in the form of more bike lanes, more signage, and reminders to Share the Road. AAA has this great Public Service Announcement reminder to Share the Road.
Image from Zazzle.com
Did I mention the health benefits of riding? From this article in Better Health, I found these:
Increased cardiovascular fitness
Increased muscle strength and flexibility
Improved joint mobility
Decreased stress levels
Improved posture and coordination
Decreased body fat levels
Prevention or management of disease
Reduced anxiety and depression.
Those all sound great to me! And there are many more--weight control, reduced risk for heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure. There is some evidence that cyclists also have a reduced risk for some cancers and diabetes. And cycling helps so much to keep core strength and balance.
So jump on your bike (or take the plunge and go get a bike!) and enjoy the benefits of biking! Whether it is to ride to work, shopping, school, or just for pleasure, you will love it!