From Stress to Success in the City: Biking Benefits During National Bike Month

Biking is a fun and cost effective way to get to work which is why many professionals are catching on. It is time to ditch the planes, trains, and automobiles (okay maybe not planes) and start riding your bike to work. I commute to work on my bike because I am looking to stay fit, save money, and be conscious of the environment. This National Bike Month, I am highlighting why I bike to work and choose “green” options, such as bike sharing, rather than driving or taking public transport.

Between 2000 and 2011, the number of people in the U.S. commuting by bike grew by more than 47%. Bike racks and lanes are popping up all across America to accommodate the growing number of bike commuters in cities. To encourage and support biking to work, The League of American Bicyclists established an annual Bike to Work Day which is how I'm getting to the office on May 16th for this year's Bike to Work Day.

National Bike Month

If you live in a city, you do not have to own a bike to reap the benefits of using one. Bike shares, which give people the option of renting a bike rather than buying one, are appearing in many cities across the country. My city, Washington, D.C., has seen great success with its bike share program, and up until the release of New York's, had the largest program in the nation. Other cities such as Atlanta, GA, Charlotte, NC, and Boulder, CO have launched similar programs.

When choosing alternative forms of transportation for your daily commute, consider the real, tangible benefits of biking.

 Haley's Benefits of Biking to Work

  1. Keeps You Fit: I like to call this indirect exercise. Much like a night of dancing or a game of two-hand touch football with friends, your health benefits from biking without spending time in the gym. Before your know it, people will mistake your legs for Heidi Klum’s, but you might not have to insure them like she does!
  2. Saves Money: Choosing to bike to work saves you money. Driving your car and using public transportation can be expensive, especially with gas prices continually rising. You can even calculate how much money you will save by choosing 2 wheels over 4.
  3. "Go Green”: In the age where people are becoming conscious of clean air and blue skies, biking to work takes one more air-polluting automobile off the street. Choosing to ride your bike is one small change in your routine that, combined with other riders, makes a huge impact on the health of people and the environment.

Even turtles move quickly on bikes.

City planners, interest groups, and policy makers have all heard the war cry from bikers for safety on the streets, and slowly are beginning to favor transportation policy that encourages biking and biking safely. Even the U.S. House of Representatives where I work has created a Bike Caucus to support the cause.

Biking in the city can be dangerous. Keep these tips in mind to stay safe:

Haley's Biking Safety Tips 

  • Always wear a helmet (yes I know safety can make for an unfortunate hair day)
  • Make sure you can be seen (this means flashing lights, neon spokes, or the fluorescent crossing guard vest)
  • Lock your bike up (including your front wheel which people really love to steal them)
  • Use your hand signals people! (Remember how mad it makes you when someone turns in front of you without using their blinker? People feel the same way when you’re driving like a maniac on your bike)
  • Get in a bike lane ASAP (City planners, step up your lane game!)

Commuting by bike is healthy for your lifestyle, your finances, and the environment. During National Bike Month, join many other professionals choosing to bike to work. Stay committed to your two-wheeled commute beyond this one day to continue reaping your biking benefits. 

HaleyFulford-TheWiseLatinaClubA food enthusiast and native Georgia Peach, Haley recently graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Development. Currently interning at the United States House of Representatives, she is passionate about the outdoors, improved access to quality education for all, public policy, and documenting “from stress to success in the city.” Click here to read more about and connect with Haley.

Edited by Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.

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