For fifty-five years, National Bike Month has been the perfect time for new or returning riders to get back on the saddle and ride their bike to work. The League of American Bicyclists is the national sponsor of Bike Month (May), and this year Bike to Work Week is May 16-20 and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20.
Why all the fuss and who actually benefits from Bike to Work events?
EMPLOYERS benefit from a healthy, active workforce. In addition to missing less work due to sickness, bicyclists are happier and more productive. 80% of employees who switch from sedentary communting to cycling improve their heart, lungs, and blood vessels greatly in six to eight weeks.
EMPLOYEES enjoy biking to work because it builds morale, encourages camaraderie, and is a great way for employees to get active in the community.
Employers and employees alike engage in the Bike to Work movement because they:
RIDE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Motor vehicle emissions represent 31 percent of total carbon dioxide, 81 percent of carbon monoxide, and 49 percent of nitrogen oxides released in the United States (The Green commuter, a publication of the Clean Air Council). A short, four-mile round trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe (WorldWatch Institute). Short car trips (distances that could easily be bicycled) are much more polluting than longer trips on a per-mile basis because 60 percent of the pollution resulting from auto emissions is released during the first few minutes of operation of a vehicle.
RIDE FOR HEALTH
Bicycling can help solve two of our nation's leading crises: skyrocketing healthcare costs, which are damaging every sector of our economy, and the obesity epidemic, which in 2000 caused 400,000 deaths, 16.6 percent of all deaths recorded, due to poor diet and physical inactivity. A study of almost 200,000 General Motors employees found that overweight and obese individuals average up to $1,500 more in annual medical costs than healthy-weight individuals. By getting people moving again, bicycling can help improve Americans lose weight and improve their physical condition. This could not only save lives, it could help greatly reduce the total costs to society of obesity, estimated at $117 billion per year.
RIDE FOR ECONOMY
Bicycles cost far less than automobiles to purchase and maintain, and do not require a continual intake of increasingly expensive gasoline. Between six and twenty bicycles can be parked in the space that a motor vehicle requires for parking. Bicycles also cause little, if any, wear and tear on roadways.
Ready to spin those wheels? Check out the Bike Month Getting Started Guide
for ideas, as well as the Bike Month Events section on the League of American Bicyclists website to see what Bike Month and Bike to Work Week events are going on in your community. Also, post your area, club, business or school's Bike Month events on the webiste for free!
Learn more about Stacy Walters, RKT at www.fittogarden.com