Monday, May 11 through Friday, May 15, Bike to Work. It’s the national week for biking to work – so why not try it? I know, I know. Your tire’s flat. You’re out of shape. It’s raining. It’s hot. You don’t know how. It seems sooooo hard!
Take heart incipient commuter: It’s really not that hard! And it has sooooo many rewards! You burn calories instead of gas. You build fitness. Your workouts are built into your day. You arrive at work invigorated. You can blow out stress from the day on your way home. You see your town in a different way.
But maybe the best thing: You get to be a kid again — at least for a little while — before you start work and (theoretically) don the harness of a rational, productive adult.
I understand you have concerns. But take it from many of us who do it whenever we can, there are solutions. Here are some from the League of American Bicyclists:
Concern: I’m out of shape!
- Start by riding at an easy pace. You won’t be out of shape for long.
- Ride your route on a weekend to find the easiest way to work.
Concern: It’ll take too long!
- The average commuter travels at 10 mph; as you ride more, you get faster.
- Trips of less than 3 miles will be quicker by bike.
- Trips of five to seven miles in urban areas may be about the same time or quicker by bike.
Concern: It’s too far!
- Try riding to work and taking the bus home. You can put your bike on the front of RTA buses and get most of the way home that way.
- Ride to a coworker’s house and carpool to work.
Tues. May 12: Go with the Flow Bike Week Edition. Ride down to RiverScape at 6 p.m. and practice yoga for an hour with a hundred or so of your closest friends. OK, you don’t have to ride a bike to this, but if you do, you get extra good karma. The free vinyasa flow session will be led by Tori Reynolds and feature live music by Ben Rivet. Bring your own mat, towel and water. Come early to claim a spot and browse the custom apparel and sponsor booths.
The rest of the week: Bike to work – again! More
excuses concerns? See below.
Concern: My bike is beat up!
- Find your friendly local bike shop and tell them you want to commute. They will tune up your bike and get it ready to roll.
- Make sure your bike is reliable and in good working order before you start commuting.
Concern: My work place doesn’t have showers!
- That can be a bummer for longer commutes, but most commuters don’t shower at work, according to the League of American Bicyclists.
- Ride in at an easy pace to stay cool and dry; Ride home fast if you want a workout.
- If you work downtown, check out the bike hub at RiverScape for showering and lockers. Also health clubs offer showers, try for a discounted membership just to clean up.
Concern: I have to dress up!
- Keep multiple sets of clothing at work and rotate in fresh ones on days you drive.
- Pack your clothes with you and change at work; try rolling clothes instead of folding.
For more information on bike commuting, go to Google and search on “bike commuting”. One site that has good stuff: http://www.commutebybike.com/cats/commuting-101/
Fri. May 15: National Bike to Work Day Pancake Breakfast. Ride down to RiverScape between 7 and 9 a.m. and enjoy a free pancake breakfast along with 600 or so of your other closest friends. This is the region’s largest celebration of bicycling every year, so you don’t want to miss it. Besides the pancakes, sausage, juice and Boston Stoker coffee, you can listen to live music, visit bike-related exhibitors and record the moment for posterity at the Dayton Cycling Club photo booth. For more information, visit http://www.metroparks.org/GetOutside/NationalBike_PancakeBreakfast.aspx?id=2010redirect
Sat. May 16: Bike for the Health of it! Ride to Radvansky Bridge. Meet at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark parking lot by 9 a.m. and ride a “family paced” 16 miles on the Stillwater Recreational Trail to Radvansky Bridge and back. The ride is free and good for all ages. You can register at http://www.metroparks.org/GetOutside/Cycling-Programs.aspx, or just show up.
Ken McCall is the database reporter for the Dayton Daily News and an avid cyclist. He is a member of Bike Miami Valley, where he serves as co-chairman of the Regional Advocacy Committee; the Dayton Cycling Club; the Ohio Bike Federation; and the League of American Bicyclists.