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National Bike Month

National Bike Month reminds us that more than half of the U.S. population lives within five miles of their workplace, making bicycling a feasible, green, healthy and fun way to get to work.

(Updated from an earlier post)


May is celebrated across the United States as the National Bike Month.  Thousands of activities, including seminars, rides, workshops, and other events will be taking place throughout the month to promote the use of bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation.


Biking is in many cases a viable alternative to the car or public transportation.  A commute of under 3 miles will take less if you hop onto your bike, and you might just break even for trips under 7 miles.  It is common to combine biking with taking the bus or driving the car, which are great options for beginning bike commuters. 


Moreover, the infrastructure that facilitates biking is rapidly developing.  New bike lanes, sharrows, bike lockers, and public bike rental stations are springing up in American cities.  For example, bike sharing programs have been very successful in cities like Boulder, Washington, Seattle, Minneapolis, New York, and Portland.  Many cities are on track to introducing their own programs in 2013, including San Diego.


Although it is getting easier to switch to a bike commute, still only 0.6% of Americans, or around 750,000, bike to work every day.  Bicycle ridership in the United States is still a far cry from that in some European countries like the Netherlands or Germany, where 20% of all trips are made by bike.  National Bike Month is one way to help America catch up.


Biking is not only good for one’s health.  It saves money, takes cars off the road thus decreasing traffic, and reduces the emission of pollutants, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.  Moreover, it is an enjoyable way to discover, explore, and interact with the local community – an experience that neither the car, trolley, train, nor the bus can provide. 


There will be several important dates throughout the National Bike Month.  May 7 is designated as Bike to School Day.  The most popular celebration comes on May 16, or Bike to Work day, when thousands of Americans will transfer to their bikes to get to work.  For those who are even more committed, Bike-to-Work Week will be a chance to ditch the car for an entire week. 


There are hundreds of nonprofits dedicated to making biking more popular at the federal, state, and – most commonly – local level.  The League of American Bicyclists spearheads the national celebrations through a wide variety of sponsored events and activities.  Most notably, it has co-organized the 2013 National Bike Challenge, an initiative to get a total of 50,000 bikers to pedal 20 million miles between May 1, 2013 through September 30, 2013.  The League also provides a National Bike Month guide


There are various local and regional National Bike Month events across the nation, including in New York City, Minnesota, San Diego, Iowa, the Pacific Northwest, Tempe, AZ, Sacramento, CA, and others. 


National Bike Month has been growing bigger every year.  The multitude of campaigns and activities this year will likely make 2014 the most successful American biking celebration ever.


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