Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work 2015: Pedaling Toward Sustainability

By Lek Kadeli

One of the best aspects of my job as the Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development is when I get to serve as a “science ambassador” representing the innovative work that our scientists and engineers do to protect the environment and public health. Requests from across the country and around the world roll in constantly asking for us to share our results.

For me, meeting those requests can mean long plane trips, a day or two spent sharing presentations inside nondescript conference rooms, followed by long flights home. Sometimes, I end up spending more time in the air than I do sharing our science. But the miles traveled and the time away from home melt away when I see how EPA research is making a visible difference in local communities.

I made reference to the satisfaction I feel attending distant conferences when I was in Shkodra, Albania last year at an international gathering entitled Local Community Resilience for the Sustainable Development of River Basins in Southern Europe. I noted the Old Chinese proverb “A long journey starts with a single step” to open my talk. But it turns out that I could have tweaked that a bit to “A long journey starts with a single pedal stroke.” Last Friday was Bike to Work Day, and as I blogged about last year, I am a dedicated bike commuter. On this trip, I was in for a real treat!

Commuting by bike is great almost anywhere.

Commuting by bike is great almost anywhere.

Shkodra touts its reputation as the leading cycling city in Southeastern Europe. Its compact size, broad boulevards, and flat topography make it a natural for such distinction. Decades of communist rule that outlawed private car ownership fueled a proud tradition of self-reliant travel.

While I was at the conference I had the pleasure of meeting Entela Shkreli, the Executive Director of ‘Go2′ Albania, a nonprofit organization working to maintain that tradition in the face of a transitioning economy.  “My colleagues and I are working to incorporate bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure as a way to promote public health, advance sustainability, and help maintain resilient urban mobility in the face of floods or other disruptions,” Shkreli said. So far it’s working. Cycling and walking account for some 73% of trips in the city.

After the conference, I had the opportunity to hop on a borrowed bike and tour some of that infrastructure for myself. I spent a fabulous afternoon riding along spectacular urban scenery and cruising along the shores of Shkodra Lake. While along the banks of local rivers that flow into the lake I recognized some of the same “green infrastructure” features that our researchers are studying to improve stormwater management, reduce runoff pollution, and prevent local flooding.

There is no better way to get to know a place than from a bicycle. Outside, among the elements and under your own power, there is nothing to separate you from your surrounding environment.

And you don’t have to travel all the way to Albania to get the benefits of bicycling. As I blogged last year, I do it as much as I can to commute between my home in Virginia and EPA’s headquarters in downtown Washington, DC. May is National Bike Month, and I invite you to join me and many thousands of others who have started to incorporate cycling into their regular transportation options. Like me, you might find that a single revolution of the pedals is the start of a long, wonderful journey to a healthier, more fun commute.

About the Author:  When not traveling to share science or on some other official business, Lek Kadeli is a regular bike commuter. He is the Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Pedaling to a Sustainable Future During Bike-to-Work Month

By Marco Evert

If you peeked into the EPA Seattle bike locker in May, you’d find a tidy corridor lined wall to wall with bikes, helmets, and child carriers. Our participation in Bike-to-Work Month extended to Alaska, Idaho and Oregon, with staff across EPA Pacific Northwest Region waking up and strapping on helmets for the morning bike ride to the office, some with kids in tow to drop off at daycare.

When we participated in Bike-to-Work Month, we joined a community of people committed to sustainability and we wanted to give our support. How do you show appreciation to a Seattle bike commuter? With coffee and healthy snacks, of course! We celebrated Bike-to-Work Day on May 16 by hosting a commute station with coffee, fruit, and treats in Seattle’s Centennial Park along Puget Sound. This has been a tradition of ours since 2003.

That day, ten EPA employees showed up bright and early before work to cheer on about 520 riders who stopped by on their morning commute. The station is a growing partnership between EPA, the neighborhood Whole Foods, the Seattle Art Museum, and its café, and Nuun Hydration. In addition to feeding and caffeinating the cyclists who stopped by, we highlight the efforts of Cascade Bicycle Club to make bike commuting accessible and safe in the Pacific Northwest. This organization hosts Bike-to-Work Day in Seattle and rallies organizations and businesses to sponsor commute stations.

 

Seattle area commuters show off their rides at EPA’s Bike-to-Work Day station.

Seattle area commuters show off their rides at EPA’s Bike-to-Work Day station.

 

Seattle area commuters show off their rides at EPA’s Bike-to-Work Day station.

Jonathan Freedman, an ecologist who has worked in the EPA Seattle office for 13 years, has spearheaded EPA’s sponsorship of a bike station since its inaugural year. “It gives EPA employees a chance to serve our community together as volunteers, and as bike commuters we can make friends with other workers who bike downtown,” Freedman said. “That’s part of the fun of it – we see some people year after year.” Since the first EPA commute station in 2003, Freedman estimates EPA has seen 6,000 bikers pass by our station, double or triple the number we would get in the early years.

EPA Pacific Northwest Region bike commute station volunteers (left to right): Annie Christopher, Hanady Kader, Jonathan Freedman, John Keenan, Rob Elleman, and Erik Peterson.

EPA Pacific Northwest Region bike commute station volunteers (left to right): Annie Christopher, Hanady Kader, Jonathan Freedman, John Keenan, Rob Elleman, and Erik Peterson.

When cyclists stopped by, we asked them to put pins on a map showing points of departure and destination, and we pinned our own routes as well. At the end of the morning, we had a colorful splash of pins covering Seattle.

A rider pins his trip on EPA’s commute map.

A rider pins his trip on EPA’s commute map.

Biking to work puts into practice our professional and personal commitment to sustainability. We thank all bike commuters, including EPA’s own, for pedaling during Bike-to-Work Month and throughout the year.

About the author: Marco Evert is a 2014 Federal Bike-To-Work Challenge intern. He is a junior at Seattle University in Washington State working towards a Public Affairs degree.

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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The Sweet Spot: Riding to Work

 Alone with my thoughts as the pavement scrolls by under my wheels, it’s just the perfect symmetry to begin and end the work day.

Cyclists gather in downtown Washington, DC

Enjoying post-ride festivities on Bike to Work Day.

 

Reposted from “EPA Connect, the Official Blog of EPA Leadership.

By Lek Kadeli

There are times in life when everything seems to align. When you know you are in the right place at the right time, doing something that is at once productive and satisfying. I’ve found a regular activity that fits the bill: bicycle commuting.

I began making the switch to two-wheeled commuting over time. At first I was primarily looking for a way to build a bit more physical activity into my weekly routine. I began leaving the car at home from time to time in favor of riding. It turned out to be an easy transition.

At eleven-and-a-half miles, the distance between my home in Falls Church, Virginia and EPA’s headquarter offices in Washington, D.C., is an ideal length for riding: not too time-consuming, but long enough to feel like I’ve gotten some exercise. Even more encouraging is that the majority of the route is along the Martha Custis trail, a paved and well-maintained bike path.

Over the years I found myself driving less and less. So much so that I’ve now completely given it up—along with the expensive downtown parking spot. When I don’t ride I take the metro, which is the only place I catch myself longing for those warm spring evenings when I would enjoy the occasional cigar as I drove home with the top down in my convertible. But I don’t even miss those commutes when traveling under my own power. Alone with my thoughts as the pavement scrolls by under my wheels, it’s just the perfect symmetry to begin and end the work day.

Read more…

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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#Biketowork: Who’s in?

My morning commute: #Biketowork

My morning commute

This evening I’ll be inflating my tires, stashing a spare tube or two in my saddle bag, and laying out my EPA cycling jersey by the dresser in preparation for my favorite commute of the year.  After waiting patiently and not-so-patiently for 364 long days, Bike to Work Day is finally upon us!

Whether you are using the organized event to join a commuter convoy and give riding to work a try for the first time, or if you are already a champion—like EPA scientist Mostafa (Safa) Shirazi who has ridden  some 132,000 miles getting to work and back over the last 45 years(!)—Bike to Work Day is a great excuse to join in on the fun.

I’ll be rolling out for my own commute from suburban Maryland to EPA’s headquarters in downtown Washington, DC around 6:30 a.m. Like I did last year, I’ll stop periodically to “Tweet” highlights from my ride, and invite you to follow via @EPALive.

For those following or adding their own “Tweets” to the mix,  I’ll be using #Biketowork.

The weather report for the morning is perfect, so if you have ever been tempted to join the rolling party that is Bike to Work Day, this should be the year.

In just a few more hours the ride will be on! Who’s in?

About the Author:  EPA science writer-editor Aaron Ferster is the editor of It All Starts with Science. While he has a long way to go before matching the number of miles ridden by his colleague Safa Shirazi, he’s looking forward to the chase.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Bike to Work Day

Today is Bike to Work Day.

Two days ago, we blogged about the benefits of biking to work.

Did you ride your bike to work today?

If so, tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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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Bike to Work Day – May 21, 2010

Woman riding bicycle on a snowy trailFor a variety of reasons, a number of us here at the EPA face long daily commutes. Living in Frederick , MD and working in DC is not my idea of a sustainable lifestyle, but I am determined to reduce my overall carbon footprint by linking a number of different transportation modes.

Since moving in 2008, I have experimented with a number of different routes and transportation combinations including bicycle, car, MARC train and Metro .  I have gone back and forth between riding the C&O Canal and riding the back roads into DC.

Right now, I prefer riding on the road as the C&O can often be quite muddy, making travel time less predictable. My current system involves leaving my car at a nearby MARC station and riding into DC along some of the most beautiful country roads Maryland has to offer.

The ride is a little over 40 miles long and takes roughly 2.5 hours. To get home, I take the MARC train back to Frederick. The next day I take the train to work in the morning, and then ride back to my car after work. (Unfortunately, bicycles are not allowed on the MARC train, which would solve a number of logistical issues.)

In years past, Bike to Work Day bloggers have done an exceptional job of illustrating exactly how many pounds of CO2 can be reduced and how many calories can be burned by biking to work:

As Bike to Work Day continues to gain popularity, I think the majority of us are aware that bicycle commuting is the better option not only for the environment, but also for our physical fitness. This awareness is also reflected in programs such as the Bicycle Tax Credit as well as health insurance companies covering exercise related expenses.
As an EPA employee, I feel a personal and professional responsibility to live an environmentally sustainable life. While living over fifty miles away from my place of work is not an ideal situation when it my carbon footprint, it is not a hopeless situation. There are options—and bicycle commuting is one of them.

About the author: Anna Kelso is an Environmental Protection Specialist in the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. In addition to her commitment to bicycle commuting, Anna is a mountain biker on the Gripped Racing Team and is a dedicated bicycle advocate within her community.

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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.