Bike to Work Day, 2008

About the author: Aaron Ferster is the science writer-editor for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. He rides to work on the Capital Crescent Trail.

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photo of Aaron Ferster and his bikeWhen I tell people one of the best parts of my job is the commute, they immediately think I must dislike my work. Actually, I have a great job. It’s just that I love my commute. I’m one of a handful of EPA employees hooked on commuting by bike.

The best part of bicycle commuting is that it’s fun; it is also good for the environment and my health. Bicycling reduces pollution and my carbon footprint. I get twice-daily workouts pedaling right past the gas pump and their ever-increasing prices. I have a bike locker at the Metro for those days when the weather or my schedule conspire to prevent me from tackling the trip all the way from Rockville, MD, where I live, to EPA in downtown Washington, DC. Leaving my car at home saves me some $95.00 a month in Metro parking alone.

For days when I can ride all the way to work, I’m treated to fresh air, bird songs instead of honking, and a great view overlooking the Potomac River from the Capital Crescent Trail. I share the skinny strip of pavement with lots of fellow bike commuters, plenty of early-morning dog walkers, and the occasional box turtle or deer.

Friday, May 16th is my favorite day of the year: Bike to Work Day. Bike to Work Day is held in cities across the country every May (National Bike Month) as a way of enticing people to give bike commuting a try and to promote bicycling as a green, healthy, and fun alternative to driving.

Here in Washington, DC the event combines my two favorite things: bicycles and free coffee. Morning convoys gather from across the metropolitan area to join together in ever-increasing numbers as they ride toward Freedom Plaza downtown (conveniently located just across from EPA headquarters). Freedom Plaza is the annual site of Bike to Work Day festivities, including speeches, music, free tee-shirts, raffles, and refreshments featuring bagels, energy bars, bananas, and—oh goodie!—hot, fresh coffee.

On Friday, May 16th, consider giving Bike to Work Day a try (May 15 in some cities like San Francisco). It could very well turn out to be your favorite work day of the year.

P.S. Tell us why you are or aren’t biking to work.