It’s National Bike to Work Week (and Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 20).
Riders around the country are encouraged to drive less and ride more—and cities and businesses are getting on board!
It’s National Bike to Work Week, which means it’s time to dust off your commuter bike if it’s been abandoned in the garage collecting dust all winter. Whether biking to work for you means biking the entire distance or driving or using public transit to get part of the way before hopping on the bike; this is the week to celebrate those efforts. While cycling to work every day is unrealistic for those with long commutes, this week raises awareness around riding versus driving whenever possible. The League of American Bicyclists estimates that 40 percent of trips taken in the US are under two miles—definitely a bike-able distance.
We know that commuting by bike is good on pretty much every level: It has positive impacts on your physical and mental health, it’s better for the environment, and especially now with the price of gas on the rise, it can potentially save you money as well. And with the introduction of e-bikes that offer plenty of power assist, it’s even possible to do longer work commutes without breaking out in a sweat. (Or at least, not as much of a sweat.)
If you are a bike commuter, or contemplating making the shift, the first thing you’ll need is a bike. You can absolutely ride whatever bike you already own, but there are also some great commuter bikes in every budget range that address commuter-specific needs. Maybe you need a folding bike to take on the train, a bike with racks to lug all of your files around, or just prefer something a bit more bombproof with a belt drive and an internal hub for your bumpy, often messy commute. You can check out our list of favorite commuter bikes right here.
We also recommend finding a good cycling-specific backpack that stashes all of your stuff, preferably one that keeps your laptop dry and has enough room for a change of clothes for those hotter rides. And, of course, it should have plenty of room for extra snacks, especially if your ride is a bit long and you tend to arrive at the office ravenous.
We’re not the only ones celebrating bike to work week. Here are a few of the best celebrations we’ve seen:
In Lincoln, Nebraska, the whole town gets involved. “We’re kicking off the week with a morning coffee at The Mill,” Transportation Planner Stephanie Rouse with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department told KLKN TV. “We’ve done this in past years, where bikers can stop by between 7 and 9 am, get a free cup of coffee, talk with staff located there, talk with other bike enthusiasts or bike commuters that show up.” The week finishes with a bike parade on Friday!
In Elkhart, Indiana, the Parks & Recreation Department is hosting breakfast rides on Friday and Saturday, with bagels and coffee in a local park, and a Friday evening Bike Bonanza ride and Breakfast Ride on Saturday. Near Elkhart, Goshen, Indiana’s Mayor Jeremy Stutsman leads a bike-to-work ride every year to kick off the week, and the town adds some bike festivities of their own.
In Jacksonville, Florida, council member LeAnna Gutierrez Cumber made headlines when she announced that she’d ride to work every day this week. She’s been a proponent of bike safety in the city for years, and even spearheaded the initiative to paint bike lanes green rather than just adding bike stencils. (We’ve seen what street art can do to benefit cyclists and pedestrians.)
In Boise, Idaho, live music, food, beverages, and bikes will be at the center of a festival at Highlands Hollow on Wednesday to celebrate life on two wheels. And on Friday, people on bikes can visit outdoor “Bike Hubs” in downtown Boise for coffee, to-go breakfast items, giveaways, and bike safety checks.
In Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, riders are encouraged to participate in local challenges like taking a different route home, posting a cycling selfie, and adding a hill to the ride to win various prizes.
If your city or office is doing something great for Bike to Work week, let us know in the comments!
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