In 2010 Bike-to-Work day will be on Friday May 21. Bike-to-Work Day is an annual event held on the third Friday of May across the United States and Canada that promotes the bicycle as an option for commuting to work. The day was created by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956 and is a part of Bike-to-Work Week, which is in turn part of National Bike Month.
Wherever you are in the country, you are likely to find an event to celebrate bike-to-work day. If there isn’t one near you, consider getting together with some friends, family members or colleagues to organize a bike-to-work day in your community or area! Biking is a great (and healthy!) way to reduce your carbon footprint from commuting or just getting around. If you’re not a bicyclist or don’t want to participate, remember that you can reduce your footprint by purchasing a Carbon Offset.
If biking to work seems like something you might consider, there are a number of factors working in your favor. The nonprofit Adventure Cycling Association has been working with everyone from state and federal governments to local, passionate volunteers to create an official U.S. Bicycle Route System. This enormous project, the Adventure Cycling Route Network, is trying to link America’s bicycle system together on the scale that the train and roads built in the 19th and 20th centuries did. Google Maps has even added a new feature that allows someone to get directions using a bicycle as a primary means of transportation. Also, if you’re in the market for a new bike or gear, companies like Panda Bicycles are producing sleek, new environmentally-sustainable bikes. These bikes are designed for an urban environment and are actually made of products like bamboo!
Now you’ve got the motivation, but what happens if the only bike you have has been hanging up in your garage for 20 years? No problem! Luckily, a number of cities in North America are adopting a common European metropolitan biking system. Originating in Paris with the Vélib’ program, co-op bike systems are designed to offer residents and tourists an easy and green way to travel the city streets. Think of it as a new form of urban transportation, since like bus and train stops, the co-op system has many “stations” to pick up or drop off a bike (with a small fee, of course). Washington D.C. and Montreal have each created their own expansive bike sharing systems using the Paris Vélib’ model.
Leading up to Bike-to-Work Day, national, regional, and local bicycle advocacy groups encourage people to try bicycle commuting as a healthy and safe alternative to driving by providing route information and tips for new bicycle commuters. On Bike-to-Work Day, these groups often organize bicycle-related events, and in some areas, pit stops along bicycle routes with snacks.
While you probably came to work on Bike-to-Work Day by a car or train, it’s not too late to get in the spirit and join the cause. Because of all the new support and incentives, there’s never been a more perfect time to start cycling more often. So let’s help the environment and transform Bike-to-Work Day from a annual holiday, to a daily occurrence!