Don’t Ditch Your Bike

By Matthew Bristol

I can still remember my first bike ride without training wheels – a supremely human freedom. America seems to have outgrown cycling, graduating to more sophisticated modes of transportation. Cycling outside of sport or hobby in the U.S. can be seen as somewhat childish, not to be taken seriously. For me, cycling is not childish, nor is it completely serious. Though I bike to EPA every day, I hardly think of it as work compared to sitting frustrated in traffic or braving the crowds on public transportation. It’s not work; it’s play! But that’s not to say it’s easy right off the bat.

At first, bicycle commuting in a city can be quite intimidating. There are also logistical considerations: what to wear (should I change at work?), how tough or long the ride is, whether there are safe streets to bike on – just to list a few. As I waded gently into the world of city biking, I was surprised by how easy it really was. Some of my fears turned out to be completely unfounded, which I only learned after I really dove in.

First, the cars are not as fast or scary as you might imagine. Given the heavy traffic around rush hour, bikes are usually much faster than cars, and you will find that rather than slowing anybody down, you move naturally with the flow of traffic. As long as you obey the rules of the road, you won’t be a surprise to most drivers. Still, be sure to wear a helmet and stay visible with lights at night.

Second, it is fairly easy to get where you want to go. DC is pretty flat, but so are most cities; if you aren’t in shape to be doing Tour-de-France style hill climbs, have no fear! Neither am I, and I do just fine, no matter where I find myself. Many streets also have dedicated bike lanes (here are detailed bike maps of DC, NYC, Seattle, Portland, and Austin) and I’ve found Google Maps’ bicycle directions to be good for cities.

If you aren’t ready to brave the streets, scenic trails like the Capital Crescent and C&O Canal Trail in DC are better options for a weekend workout or an afternoon ride. Still, I would argue that nothing beats the rush of flying down Pennsylvania Avenue, or whizzing around Dupont Circle with a full basket of groceries. What more can I say? It’s fun!

About the author:  Matt Bristol is a rising senior at Skidmore College, an avid cyclist, and an intern in the EPA Office of Web Communications.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

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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 views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

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. Continue reading

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.