Why You Should Bike To Work (At Least Once) | by Calvin Eaton

May is National Bike Month! and to celebrate 540Blog and social media platforms will focus content on how we begin to normalize biking in our culture, support cyclists, and more importantly push walkablity in Rochester and beyond.

Are you biking to work today?

Today is National Bike to Work Day. That’s right every third Friday in May, The League of American Bicyclists advocate for everyone to bike to work. Rochester like most cities across the nation are promoting bike culture and holding special events for everyone to get out and bike today. The more bikes on the road means the more biking is normalize as a respected and viable mode of transportation. The number of bicyclists is growing rapidly from coast to coast and many are advocating for their city and state leaders to include bikes in development and planning decisions. Many of these trips include professionals like Arian Horbovetz who bikes to work frequently and runs the national blog on urbanism, The Urban Phoenix.

Arian frequently writes about his experiences as a cyclisits and shares the joys and challenges that come with biking in a car-centric city like Rochester. In early 2016 life forced Arian to reevaluate how he looked at mobility after his car died and he went car free for nearly two years. He says; I biked to and from work every day, rain, shine, snow, monsoon, blizzard, ice storm, 50mph wind and 95 degree heat with 100% humidity.  My commute by bike was about 26 minutes, and I could easily reach downtown Rochester in 20. When necessary, I rode the bus, and occasionally took advantage of Uber and Lyft. And when I really needed a car, I utilized Zipcar, which is a wonderful service by the way.

Eventually Arian, did get a new car but he continues to make use of his bike and public transit in his overall mobility routine. And he’s not the only one. . The National Household Travel Survey showed that the number of trips made by bicycle in the U.S. more than doubled from 1.7 billion in 2001 to 4 billion in 2009. In cities all over America many millennials and bike enthusiasts use their bikes for more than a casual bike ride. Professionals from all walks of life are advocating for more bike infrastructure in large towns and small cities. Rochester’s biking community is growing and the need for more folks on the road is essential for our City to move the needle on normalizing bike culture. Here in Rochester, the roads are built for cars, and for many; biking on major roads and intersections is not only unsafe but unfeasible. About the challenges Arian shared; You have to constantly push yourself, think ahead, and sometimes, there are just things you can’t do. Biking takes a lot more time to get around than driving, especially in a city like Rochester that lacks the real density of a big city.  A 12-minute car ride to work was more than double that on a bike, which might not seem like much until you just need to sleep that extra few minutes in the morning, or finish that project before you head out the door.  It’s getting home at 5:10pm instead of 4:45pm, and not being able to make that big grocery run on the way home.

You have to constantly push yourself, think ahead, and sometimes, there are just things you can’t do.

Despite these challenges National Bike to Work Day gives us all a chance to push ourselves out of our normal comfort zones and into the community (and to work) via bike, if we can find routes that are safe. Why bike?

  • 40% of all trips in the U.S. are less than two miles, making bicycling a feasible and fun way to get to work.
  • With increased interest in healthy, sustainable and economic transportation options, it’s not surprising that, from 2000 to 2013, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 62 percent.

Hundreds of American communities have been successful in increasing bicycle commuting by providing Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day events. So join the community, learn the safest route, hop on your bike, and bike to work today or one day soon.

Sources
  1. Reflecting on 20 Months of Car-Free Living, The Urban Phoenix
  2. Stuck In Between, The Urban Phoenix
  3. Seen On My Commute, The Urban Phoenix
  4. The League of American Bicyclists 
  5. Census.gov
  6. The Benefits of Bike to Work Week 

 

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