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Bike To Work Week Begins

The celebration, which runs from May 16 to May 20, encourages residents and commuters to leave their cars at home

May is Bike Month!

 That’s right folks, we’re right smack in the middle of National Bike Month, and May 16 marks the start of Bike to Work Week, a celebration that will culminate in Bike to Work Day on May 20th.

So what’s that mean to you? Well, the big event is Bike To Work Day, where the idea is to encourage folks to try ...  you guessed it... biking to work. And there are lots of resources to help you on your way.   I’ll give you a few pointers here, and there’s lots more good information on the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) website.

You may be thinking “Why should I bike to work?” Let me give you a few reasons that might resonate with you. How many of you feel that you never have time to get outside, exercise, and enjoy the outdoors? Well, cycling to work can help with that.  You get to combine those things “there’s never time for” with a daily necessity, getting to work. You might even find you feel less stressed at work, since exercise has been shown to reduce stress levels and help us manage the stress we have in our lives. And you might be able to skip a trip to the gym without feeling guilty about it.

Aside from the mental and physical health benefits, cycling to work can save you money. I’m guessing you’ve probably noticed that gas prices are climbing. Do the math and think about how many gallons and dollars you can save by riding to work, even a few times a month. Now also think about how often you find yourself stuck in one of our many traffic jams where you sit and fume about not getting anywhere. On a bike, you rarely have to contend with such snarls, since you can generally navigate your way around them more easily than in a car.

Finally, not to preach, but we could all stand to tread a little more lightly on the planet, and use a smaller share of the Earth’s resources. Bikes don’t really pollute, and their carbon footprint is pretty darned small.

How do you start, if you aren’t already riding to work?

Well, Friday will be a good day to dip your toe in and give it a try. WABA is organizing a number of events to ease your journey, including “pit stops” all around the greater DC area and right here in downtown Vienna. Come down to the Town Green between 6:30 and 8:30 am on Friday, and you’ll find the folks from Whole Foods  with snacks and beverages,  Jeff Palmer and his staff from Spokes, Etc, and yours truly, there to give advice as well as technical and moral support. Bike making a funny noise? Just want to make sure it’s in good enough shape to make the journey? Have one of the mechanics on hand look it over while you enjoy a snack and a drink.

So pull that bike out of the garage, pump up the tires, take it for a short spin around the block, then come join us and thousands of others for the fun and adventure of riding to work. You might just find you really enjoy it. See you out there!

Laura B. May 16, 2011 at 11:46 AM
When we first moved to Vienna, our next-door-neighbor told us he often biked to work in DC. We thought the guy was absolutely nuts. But within a year my husband was doing it too, and misses it now that he works from home. One thing Tim doesn't mention in this article is the issue of finding a place to clean up and change clothes after you get to work. My husband belonged to a gym near his office and took a shower there.
Tim Fricker May 16, 2011 at 02:48 PM
L Bligh - Excellent point! In the best of all possible worlds, all of our employers would provide a place to shower and change, but that's not generally true. A gym membership near work is probably the next best thing. If even that isn't available, you might be able to get enough of a good "sprucing up" at a bathroom sink. Bring a face cloth and hand towel and some soap (some folks like rubbing alcohol too), or find a place to store it at work, and you can probably freshen up sufficiently. Shower at home before riding, and use the work regimen as a "touch up".
Tim Fricker May 16, 2011 at 02:53 PM
A reader responded via email - "FYI-Cunningham Park, Woftrap and Vienna Elementary PTAs in conjunction with Safe Routes to School are sponsoring a a Bike/Walk to Week Challenge this week in honor of Bike to Work Day on Friday. We are asking our students to get out of their cars and off their buses to bike and walk to school all week long. Jeff Anderson at Wolftrap sponsors a bike bus once a month. Following his lead, I set up a bike bus today with my 5th grade son and we picked up nine other kids. We hope to add bikers to the bus all week long." Great work on the part of those schools! Jeff is a customer and friend of bikes@vienna, so we've been aware of his work there at Wolftrap ES. We chipped in by loaning a couple of portable bike racks for the week at the school. We have a limited number of portable racks we provide for special events, including the weekly Vienna Farmer's Market.
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