Bike to Work

EP…Yay

 

By Gyeongbae Jung

It’s 8 AM. I wake up, shower, put on some clothes, and struggle to find matching socks as I wonder why I didn’t to go to bed earlier. The struggle continues as I get ready to bike to my internship at EPA. I’m not a very good biker, but I lie to myself every morning about how good I am to convince myself to make the trip. I bike past Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, downtown, and the myriads of tourists taking selfies in front of the White House.

Interning at EPA this summer has been a bit surreal for me. I remember I used to stare at these big marble buildings in total awe when my family visited D.C. years ago. Mini me would try to picture what they would look like from the inside and, well, I’m here now. My childhood wonder and imagination have quickly been replaced with rows and rows of doors that lead to unknown offices filled with cubicles, employees, and the hopes and dreams of the American people. As I do my daily walk upstairs to my office, I can’t help but imagine how many people have done the same before me.

I’m an intern at the Office of Web Communications (OWC), or “the office of extreme Facebooking” as my friends would like to call it. I figured nothing would have prepared me more for this internship than the hours I spent procrastinating on social media during finals. But, honestly, that’s a very shallow way to describe the important work this office does. OWC synthesizes content and news, and shares it with the public through various social media channels. According to the American Press Institute, 44% of Americans receive their news through social media. As peoples’ dependence and connectivity to the internet continues to grow, so will the importance of modern media outlets as a way of sharing information with the public. OWC helps the public learn about environmental news and information in 140 characters or less.

Today is the last day of my internship at the EPA. It’ll be 8 AM tomorrow, I’ll wake up, shower, put on some clothes, and once again struggle to find matching socks. I’ll try to lie to myself again, but this time about how I won’t miss the intern struggle. I feel like this time my morning lie won’t be very effective. I sincerely loved my time here, the work I did, the people I met, and the cause I supported. People call it the EPA, but for me it’ll always be the EP….yay.

About the author: Gyeongbae Jung is a sophomore at American University studying environmental science. He works as an intern in the EPA’s Office of Web Communications.

 

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.

The Sweet Spot: Riding to Work

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. More

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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.

Join Us and Bike to Work

Several links below exit EPA Exit EPA Disclaimer

By Joe Edgell

I’m always struck by the reasons people have for not commuting by bike.  No shower facilities.  Don’t know the route.  Unsure how to get started.  But the biggest reason cited by most people is the perceived safety of riding a bike in traffic.  In fact, 60% of people in U.S. cities indicate they would ride a bicycle but for their traffic-related concerns, according to Tom Bowden, Chairman of BikeVirginia in his recent National Bike Summit presentation.

Believe it or not, biking is actually much safer than driving or walking.  Biking has significantly less fatalities than driving, walking near traffic, swimming, motorcycling, and flying small planes.  For every hour you ride your bike, you have an incredibly small chance of getting injured—and only a 0.00000041% chance of dying.  Compared to driving a car, bicycling is far safer.  If you drive your car, you have a 15 times higher liklihood of dying than if you ride your bicycle.  You would have to ride your bike about 15,000 hours before you’d risk being killed, a number almost no one reaches.

Looking at the benefits of bicycling, the British Medical Society found, according to Tom, that the health benefits of riding your bike outweigh the risks by 77 to one!  You’ll do your mind and body a favor by bike commuting, arriving at work refreshed and ready to start the day.  And arriving home, having ridden all the day’s stresses out.

Given the incredible safety of biking to work, please come join me and my fellow cyclists and bike to work this summer. If you’re a federal government employee you can join the Federal Bike-To-Work Challenge. All cyclists can participate in events and get tips from the League of American Bicyclists. Start biking to work today and you’ll find out just how easy bicycle commuting really is!

About the author: Joe Edgell is an attorney for the Office of General Counsel. Perched atop the bicycling baby seat, he’s been bicycling since before he could walk.

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.

#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.

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.

The New Bike Commuter…. 45 Years and 132,000 Miles Later

Several links below exit EPA Exit EPA Disclaimer

By Max Sevareid

Mostafa (Safa) Shirazi recently turned 80 years old. However, age has not kept Safa off his bike while working as a environmental research scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory Western Ecology Division facility in Corvallis, Oregon; Safa has biked to work daily since 1969. He estimates he’s bike commuted 132,000 miles, more than most cars on the road today!

Safa initially had a 6 mile round trip bike to the EPA. For the last 28 years, his commute has been 15 miles round trip by bike. What motivates him? Safa says “Just do it! Don’t think about it. Rain? Fine. Snow? Just walk, or walk your bike.” Safa wants to “live within his means – the nation needs to do that. We consume too much energy.” Just as Safa still chops the wood that heats his house to this day, his bike commuting helps him stay healthy. Asked how he stays safe, Safa says “you learn to be safe on a bike – take your time. Be careful.” He recommends reflective clothing and blinkers; Safa even wears blinker lights strapped to his trousers to encourage greater visibility. While segments of his commute have worried him in the dark and rain, local drivers look out for him since “everybody knows in town that I ride”.

Biking 132,000 miles to his federal job, Safa has saved about 129,360 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Last year, Safa was a member of an EPA bike to work team logging miles during a month-long challenge. He logged more miles than his younger, fellow team members – 285 miles over 19 round trips – and achieved a 100% bike commute rate. EPA and other federal riders can still join this May’s Federal Bike-To-Work Challenge to be like Safa – see details here.

About the author, Max Sevareid, NHTSA Region 10 of the USDOT.  In partnership with the EPA Region 10 and local bicycle advocacy groups, Max encourages bicycle commuting and safety among federal agencies through bicycle commute challenges.  Max and his wife, Tiffany, try to incorporate bike commuting into their lives every day.

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.

The Places You’ll Go, the Things You’ll See

Several links below exit EPA Exit EPA Disclaimer
Bike-HeaderBy Darren Buck

I have never considered myself very “green.” Sure, I ride a bicycle to work every day. In doing so, I avoid emitting well over a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere per year than I would if I drove to work instead, which is nice. But before I began riding regularly, any concern that I had for the environment was rather vague. I started riding primarily to avoid the nearly $10,000 a year needed to own and operate a car, and to keep myself healthy without having to carve out extra time from my day to exercise.

bike-monuBut as the miles on the bike piled up, I started becoming more aware of the natural environment around me. I noticed it in ways that one cannot from behind the wheel of a car, or from the seat of a bus, or speeding under the city on a subway. On any given day, I might see the deep-amber sunrise of a low-air-quality day, a milky-brown river from storm runoff, or the first cherry blossoms sprouting in springtime. Perhaps an offshore weather system shifted the breeze from its usual northwesterly direction, or the summer humidity sent steam rising off of asphalt.

In my days before the bike, I never would have noticed any of these things. My bike ride to and from work transformed ecology and the environment from an abstract concept into something that I saw, heard, and felt for 40 minutes, twice a day, for every day I went into the office. This remains one of the most surprising, and rewarding, aspects of bike commuting for me.

BikeSnowWhether this coming Bike to Work Day is your first time trying a bike commute, or just the latest of many, I would heartily encourage you to take a few moments on your ride to look around for the things that would otherwise fly by your window. I do on every ride, and it is often the highlight of my workday. Though, saving all that money and avoiding the gym is not bad, either.

Brief bio: Darren Buck is a marketing specialist with the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, and has also published research on bicycle transportation planning topics. He has been using a bicycle to get around the Washington, DC area for nearly 12 years.

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.

Bike to Work, It's Easier Than You Think!

By Joe Edgell.

Gas prices skyrocket. Delays on the subway. Accidents on the Beltway. Police and fire activity blocking roads and snarling traffic.

Seems like there’s no way to get to work easily, on time, and with minimal cost.

Unless you consider commuting by bike. And this Friday, May 18 is Bike-to-Work Day, the perfect time to see how it works.

Here are the top ten reasons to join me and about 10,000 other bicyclists this Friday:

  1. According to the Outdoor Foundation, bicycling is the second most popular outdoor activity in the United States;
  2. Adults who bike to work have better weight, blood pressure, and insulin levels;
  3. Women who bike 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer;
  4. Bicycling boosts the economy, with $5.6 billion in bikes and equipment sold in 2009;
  5. On a round-trip commute of 10 miles, bicyclists save around $10 daily;
  6. Traffic congestion wastes nearly 3.9 billion gallons of gas per year in the U.S.;
  7. Increased bicycling decreases vehicle traffic accidents;
  8. The transportation sector is responsible for 71% of all U.S. petroleum use.
  9. Bicycling produces only 21 grams of CO2 per person per kilometer, compared to 101 grams of CO2 per passenger per kilometer for buses, and a whopping 271 grams per passenger per kilometer for cars; and most importantly
  10. The health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks by a factor of 20 to one!*

And today bicycling is easier than ever. There are electric motor-assisted bicycles to help you with that push up the hill, bike sharing so you don’t have to worry about maintenance, and shower facilities at many employers, such as EPA.

Come out this Friday, bike with a group of people to a nearby celebration (or the massive celebration at the Reagan Building if you’re in DC), and take the first step in de-stressing your morning commute by biking to work.

I’ve been biking to work for the past eight years and love it. I’m healthier and happier. You’ll find it changes your entire outlook on the day!

*A special thanks to Bikesbelong.org for the biking benefits studies.

General information about biking to work

About the author: Joe Edgell is an attorney for the Office of General Counsel. Perched atop the bicycling baby seat, he’s been bicycling since before he could walk.

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.

Bike to Work Day 2011

By Aaron Ferster

Did you bike to work today? Last Friday, I wrote about my plans for taking part in Bike to Work Day festivities. “Who’s in?” I asked. From the number of comments, it seemed a safe bet there was going to be a robust turnout.

That proved to be the case here in Washington, DC, where we had near-perfect cycling weather: clearing skies, temperatures in the low 50s, and no wind.

My own ride was absolutely delightful. I rolled out the driveway around 6:30 a.m. wondering what kind of cycling “traffic” I might encounter on my 18-mile ride. One great thing about bicycling is that, unlike when you drive a car, you can actually go faster when you draft behind a line of fellow commuters. (Well, if you can keep up, that is.)

I didn’t have much opportunity to draft in the early parts of my ride. I counted a half dozen other bikes on the road, all heading in the opposite direction. There were almost as many deer (four), soft brown bodies outlined by shafts of orange sunlight and columns of swirling mist, the last remnants of last night’s storms. For no particular reason I rang my bell as I passed, but they didn’t bother to look up.

At around the 12-mile mark, another cyclist whizzed past me so fast I think I saw their rear wheel before I heard a voice: “On your left.” “They could be the poster child for Fly Your Bike to Work,” I mused.

After about an hour or so of pedaling I had reached my “pit stop” in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of DC. Here was my opportunity to join one of the many “commuter convoys” that ride together. This is also where I’ve been meeting a friend and fellow bike commuter since 1996. This morning we calculated that between us we’ve only missed this ride together two out of 15 years.

I counted 17 riders in Mount Pleasant, and we continued to grow as we merged with other convoys over the last four miles to the big gathering. A chorus of dinging bells greeted us as we glided into Freedom Plaza—another successful Bike to Work Day.

Tell us about your own commute in the comments section below.

About the Author: Lead science writer for EPA’s Office of Research and Development, Aaron Ferster is a frequent Greenversations contributor.

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.

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.

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.