Today is National Bike to Work Day.  The League of American Bicyclists began Bike to Work Day in 1956 as part of National Bike Month, which is recognized annually during May.  Over the years, Bike to Work Day has grown into a widespread event with countless bicyclists taking to the streets nationwide in an effort to get commuters to try bicycling to work as a healthy and safe alternative to driving alone.  In just the metropolitan D.C. area, Bike to Work Day has grown from a small group of a few hundred in 2001, to approximately 12,700 participants last year.

Unfortunately, I live too far away from my office to ride one of my bikes to work.  I try to commute responsibly through vanpooling, but commuting to work by bike is just not an option for me.  So to show support for the concept, my traditional practice on National Bike to Work Day has been to arrive at work, get one of the bikes that I keep at the office, and then go out and ride and hang out with other like-minded bicyclists.  I am unable to participate this year because of an injured ankle, which may be just as well considering the inclement weather this year and the fact that it is held rain or shine.  But in the past, I have always taken the entire day off from work and spent it riding the various trails and commuter routes in the city, and hanging out at various pit stops set up for the occasion.

Each year the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (of which I am member), along with local bike shops and organizations, sponsor pit stops along many of the commuter routes in the area, so I would ride to some of the 58 area pit stops that they set up.  I have been able to have breakfast at one of the stops, where they were handing out fresh fruit, granola bars, locally-baked bagels, and all kinds of other items.  They also give away other free items like T-shirts, water bottles, sunglasses, tire repair kits, bike lights and bells, area maps, etc., as well as a chance to win a new bike and other prizes in various drawings.

Bike to Work Day is a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work.  But even if you’re like me and unable to commute via bicycle, use can use the day as a spark to getting out there and riding a bike more.  Whether it’s for recreation, exercise, running errands, or for any other reason, riding a bike not only has its benefits for both the rider and the environment, but it’s also fun.  As President John F. Kennedy once said, ““Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.”

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  1. Thanks for the post. I am also a WABA member, but my “workplace” is my studio in my home, so biking to work is out. Nevertheless, it’s been good to see the steady progress most of the area is making toward a more bike-friendly environment.


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