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Bike to Work Day

2009 May 15

About the Author: Pat Childers is a Senior Advisor in the Office of Air and Radiation who has spent over 1/2 his life promoting Clean Transportation choices for the American public. Pat currently coordinates the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee and the Clean Air Excellence Awards and is the proud father of two budding cyclists.

Image of author, wife and two young sons on tandem bike

Bike to Work Day is Friday May 15, unlike many folks my decision isn’t to bike or not, its deciding which bike to ride. Some people think biking is my life. I seldom go a day with out some sort of spinning, be it mountain biking, commuting, or riding with my kids. I was named the Agency Bike Coordinator by Carol Browner fifteen years ago. I volunteer for an organization that teaches kids about the environment from the seat of a mountain bike. I met my wife through a biking buddy, and the first purchase we ever made together was a red tandem bike. I even teach a diversity class using bikes. While biking is a passion, it is not my life. However I do find that biking is a great tool, it is the swiss army knife that I use to get through my day providing me a way to solve many problems with one simple tool.

Biking is a great tool for exercise as you burn calories riding through the city or local parks. I look back at the 240 lbs that used to be me, and say it’s good to be on the other side of 200 now and I can thank biking for that.

It’s also a great tool for teaching almost anything. Need a math lesson, a bike has 3 front gears and 9 back gears…how many total gears does that provide? Please don’t say 12. How about history, sports and diversity lessons, the first African American World Champion in any sport was Major Taylor who was a cyclist at the turn of the century a hundred years ago, and Susan B Anthony said that the bike “has done more to emancipate woman than any one thing in the world”. That’s some pretty lofty importance to place on two wheels.

On top of that, the scientific importance of bicycling from pneumatic tires to the Wright brothers developing their ideas for the airplane from their previous job building bikes, make the bike one of the most important inventions ever.

But what biking really can do best is act as a tool for low cost environmentally sound transportation. For years I rode a bike recycled from the trash and the only fuel I needed for the trip was one peanut butter banana and cheese sandwich. If you look around the community you will see cyclists of every age, sex, race and socioeconomic background all riding for different reasons-fun, health, finances, coolness factor. Whatever their reason, they are all riding and they are all helping the environment, reducing their daily footprint by increasing their daily cycling mileage so to speak. I doubt that most think about the environment, the science of biking, or as they happily spin from place to place, seeing the world from a different view than commuters stuck in traffic.

Biking isn’t my life, but it certainly has made my life better so I will join the crowd on bike to work day….if I can just figure out which bike to ride.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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19 Responses leave one →
  1. Pat permalink
    May 15, 2009

    Aparrently I picked the wrong bike, heavy slow mountain bike for the hip crowd I rode in with (8 in shape folks who rode from springfield to DC drafting off of me for 18 miles, yeah us!!!!) but what a great ride and a great day for a clean commute.

  2. Jackenson Durand permalink
    May 15, 2009

    Unfortunately, we can bike for little mile or get suet to work.
    We must consider this wonderful idea for a greener environment.

  3. gwadzilla permalink
    May 15, 2009

    I am about to post a few shots of some EPA Folks at the Washington DC Bike To Work Day gathering at FREEDOM PLAZA!

    http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/

    more specifically

    http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/2009/05/jenn-and-cycling-epa-co-working-friend.html

  4. gwadzilla permalink
    May 16, 2009

    am I right in thinking this is Pat from Trips for Kids?

    hi pat!

  5. Anonymous permalink
    May 19, 2009

    Hey Qwadz,

    Keep up the good job showing folks during thier green commute

  6. netdrv permalink
    August 8, 2009

    I am Bike to Work twice a week, my working place is about 15 km from my home. I am unable to do this activity every single day because it will too tired and impact on my work productivity. For me BTW is the great idea, making fresh and healthy. Thanks for share this topic and give me idea to promoto Bike to Work on my Blog.

  7. shakul permalink
    September 9, 2009

    Yeah… very nice sports that no budgets to do :)… But there is any sports that popular inthe world, let me see at nice days for sports guys….

  8. Jonas Anderson permalink
    November 9, 2009

    To carry a bicycle with a car, We need bike rack to grasp it to the car.

  9. Villenton permalink
    November 9, 2009

    I and my family have Sunday as family day. Our kids like to ride bicycles very much.

  10. Ivan permalink
    February 4, 2010

    it is a hellish motorbike

  11. Kevin Megan permalink
    September 21, 2010

    awesome! I hope that people can realize the small contribution of riding bike

  12. Chaim permalink
    September 27, 2010

    I love riding on my bike everyday, really a day for me looks like this: waking up, riding my bike, having some adult chat with my wife, then getting to work :)

  13. Stephen permalink
    February 5, 2011

    I too love biking…:-)

  14. Jennifer permalink
    February 5, 2011

    Biking isn’t my life, but it certainly has made my life better so I will join the crowd on bike to work day….if I can just figure out which bike to ride.

  15. Dave permalink
    July 15, 2011

    Haha I love those tandems, I live in Amsterdam and see them pretty often! Thus like 99% of the people here use a bike as a form of transport.

    Regards,

    Dave

  16. Sean Gunner permalink
    October 4, 2011

    Biking is a fantastic way of life and I wish more cities would embrace it. It is a low-impact exercise so it’s good for overused hips, knees and ankles. That applies to both athletes who, in time, have overextended their bodies, and to the totally sedentary and overweight who need to get fit.

    Inclement weather, however, is one of several reasons that exercisers should consider having a home exercise bike – whether upright or recumbent. Just 20 minutes a day of interval training will significantly boost their fitness for when they get to ride on the road again.

  17. May 4, 2012

    Aparrently I picked the wrong bike, heavy slow mountain bike for the hip crowd I rode in with (8 in shape folks who rode from springfield to DC drafting off of me for 18 miles, yeah us!!!!) but what a great ride and a great day for a clean commute.

  18. Andreas permalink
    June 18, 2013

    Hi,

    tabata intervals are a great way to work out and they can be applied to biking.

  19. tabata intervals permalink
    July 8, 2013

    Actually, tabata intervals, when first properly studied were conducted on (stationary) bikes.

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