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Bike to Work Day—Who’s In?

2011 May 13

By Aaron Ferster

I’ve been working—and commuting—in Washington, DC since 1996 when I moved to the area from the Bronx for a job writing interpretive signs at the National Zoo.

My wife and I lived just behind the back entrance to the park. It was a five-minute ride to work, but 15-minutes home because of the big hill standing between my office and our apartment. If the traffic light at the bottom of our street was green, I could make it in without a single pedal stroke.

At that time, the notion of partaking in official “Bike to Work Day” festivities seemed almost comical. “It would take me longer to get to the event than it would to actually ride to work,” I bragged. Then a colleague told me about the t-shirts and free coffee.

I’ve been hooked ever since.

Apparently I’m not alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest American Community Survey (ACS), the number of Americans who use a bicycle as their primary means of getting to work is up 14 percent since 2007, 36 percent from 2005, and 43 percent since 2000.

That’s all great news for EPA, an organization with a mission to protect human health and the environment. More bike commuting means less air pollution, cleaner skies, and healthier people.

Now that both my place of employment (EPA) and home (the suburbs) are farther apart, coasting to work is no longer an option. But I still fit riding into my commute as often as possible, and Bike to Work Day—which happens on May 20 this year—remains one of my favorite events of the year.

If you’ve been thinking of giving bike commuting a try, Bike to Work Day is a great opportunity. There are always plenty of other riders to draft behind or chat with, and there’s even free coffee and snacks at the end of the ride. Here in DC, local cycling organizations have set up “commuter convoys” from all directions to make it easy to find the best route.

Will you be riding to work on May 20? Why or why not? Use the comments section below to share your thoughts about your own plans and experiences.

About the author: Aaron Ferster is a science writer in EPA’s Office of Research and Development and the editor of Science Wednesday. Follow his progress as he rides in next Friday morning via EPA’s twitter account: @EPAgov.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations 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.

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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20 Responses leave one →
  1. Blythe Christopher de Orive permalink
    May 13, 2011

    I love riding my bike to work. I just started last month. I don’t bike everyday and I got a nail in my back tire last weekend! I will fix the inner tube and be back on for next week. Ride on!

  2. Noha permalink
    May 13, 2011

    I’ll be biking to work on May 20! It was supposed to be my day off, but a meeting just got scheduled for that day, so I’m happy to participate in Bike to Work Day! There are bike lanes for a big part of my route so that’s definitely an incentive.

  3. MikeM permalink
    May 13, 2011

    Hope to see you at Freedom Plaza on the 20th, rain or shine. (Last year, I had a winning raffle ticket – for a waterproof backpack.)

  4. armansyahardanis permalink
    May 13, 2011

    If……,

    My President & VP, The Ministers, The Legislators are biking to work day, here, then my people are very glad, saludos and the oil prices is lower than before. This moment is significant to feel environment that we need. Happy Bike to Work Day on May 20!

  5. ashley permalink
    May 13, 2011

    its a hazard cycling anywhere the eb and flow of people driving cars tensions seem to be on the increase and friction between the two groups on the increase as well.

  6. AllerAir permalink
    May 13, 2011

    Biking to work is one of the best things you can do – it keeps you fit, provides some much-needed activity if you’re sitting in front of a computer all day, you get fresh air (one hopes) and it just makes you happy. I used to ride my bike to work every day in the spring until fall and it helped me lose a few pounds, too. I’ve had to stop since I became a new mom, but I am planning to at least participate in the Bike to Work Day!
    By the way, I hope you are not tweeting and cycling at the same time, Aaron. :)

  7. jmorin permalink*
    May 13, 2011

    Ya’ll who are biking to work – remember also to check out our State of the Environment photo project, and submit pictures you’ve taken of human powered modes of transportation”!

    Read more about the photo project and how to submit, at
    http://www.epa.gov/earthday/photoproject/stateoftheenvironment

    Happy riding!

    Jeff Morin, Web editor
    US EPA

  8. Aaron@EPA permalink
    May 13, 2011

    Noha and MikeM — I’ll be riding to Freedom Plaza, too. Hope we get good weather!

    Blythe — sorry to hear about your back tire, definetly one of the challenges of regular riding.

    AllerAir — great point! I’ll only be tweeting during pit stops! Texting while cycling=bad idea!

  9. Data entry India permalink
    May 14, 2011

    good one keep it going…..

  10. Sarah permalink
    May 14, 2011

    My employer is promoting Bike to Work Week next week. I’ve never biked to work before, but I just did a dry run this morning (Saturday) and am looking forward to doing it at least one day next week.

  11. Fredrik permalink
    May 14, 2011

    I`ll bike to school! It`s 15minutes with sub-way to school. It will be fun trying to get their with my bike. Hope I find the way.. ;O)

  12. Zac Appleton permalink
    May 14, 2011

    Hello from EPA R9!

    Glad to hear riding’s up! For my office, roughly 9% of my colleagues are biking some time of the year, and we had a good showing on Bike to Work Day last week. For my part, I figure I clock about 1600 miles a year bike commuting, and am delighted to see more people of all age groups joining me on the road.

    Ride happy, ride safe.

  13. Elisa Baker permalink
    May 16, 2011

    I can not ride on bike for traveling about two hours distance to reach at my work…

  14. Christine Nunez permalink
    May 16, 2011

    I live 16 miles from work and the bike lanes in-between are terrible with a congested traffic route, plus I work a ten hour day and have four kids at home so the time and potential risks of driving the un-bikefriendly paths are not worth it for me.

  15. Renato Lobo permalink
    May 16, 2011

    We have almost zero bike lanes in Brasil, and I live in a monstrous city: São Paulo. If I rode to work, I wouldn’t have a place to park my bike, nor a lockroom to change clothes/cleaning. The Brazilian authorities should award companies that make a biker friendly environment. Congratulations for the beatiful initiative !

  16. ChuckPnLA permalink
    May 16, 2011

    I bike to work almost everyday. I love my commute and can do it faster on my bike than in the car. It’s awesome!

  17. Karen permalink
    May 18, 2011

    I probably won’t be biking, but I will walk the half mile to the station, ride the commuter train for an hour, and walk the mile to the office, as I do every work day year round, whatever the weather. If biking works for you, please do it! :^)

  18. Tracey ODonnell permalink
    May 19, 2011

    Count me in, I will be riding in the Charlotte, NC area !!

  19. James permalink
    July 31, 2011

    I do ride to work EVERYDAY. :-)
    But I never leave without my heart rate watch which I recentely bought

  20. Jennifer Ford permalink
    September 3, 2011

    I bike to work everyday. I also bike to run my errands like grocery shopping or anything else for that matter. I have a trailer hooked to the back of my bike, so I never have to worry if I am going to have enough room if I decide to stop and pick something up on the way home.

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