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National Bike Month: 3 Reasons to Ride

Did you know?  May is National Bike Month. Not only that, but today is the kick off for National Bike-to-Work Week, and this Friday, May 21, is National Bike-to-Work Day.  So, if you’re not ready to hop on your bike today, you have all week to prepare and still participate.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, over half of the U.S. population lives within five miles of their workplace. Yet only about five percent of commuters use a bicycle to get to their place of work.  Bikes offer many benefits to both people and the planet, so here’s three reasons to take a closer look.

1.  Biking is Great for Our Health

Obviously, biking is great exercise.  The commute can become a time for activity and health, rather than a time of frustration and idleness in a car.  Many people struggle to find time for exercise, but biking instead of driving helps you build exercise into your daily routine as a way of life.

Here’s a cool statistic: 80% of people who switch from sedentary commuting to biking show great improvements in health in just six to eight weeks.  And usually, healthier people equals happier people.  That’s a benefit that can’t be measured.

Photo by John Talbot

2.  Biking is Great for the Environment

When you ride a bike instead of driving a car, you reduce air pollution.  Short car trips can cause up to three times more pollution than long trips, and those are the very trips that could be replaced by bikes. You prevent the release of 3.6 pounds of pollutants per mile when you bike instead of drive.  Not only that, but you reduce the need for fuel (oil). And ten bikes can be parked in the space of one parking spot.

3.  Biking is Great for Your Wallet

Depending on where you live, choosing to bike to work will save you money on fuel, parking fees, car maintenance work, and transit fares.  If you are able to get rid of your car entirely, you will save on monthly payments and car insurance, too.  What a boon to your monthly budget that would be!

Photo by Jonathan Rees

Biking Resources

Here in our home, we have just made the decision to become a one-car family.  We live about three and a half miles from my husband’s office – an easy biking distance.  We are going to sell one of our cars, and my husband will ride to work instead of driving. If it’s raining too hard, I will drop him off and pick him up.

Find a Route

We didn’t think there was a good, safe route for him to take, but then we looked it up on Google Maps for Bicycling.  Did you know that was an option?  When you enter your starting address and destination address, you can then choose your mode of transportation from a drop-down menu: by car, walking, public transit (if available), and by bicycling.  We found a great bike route for my husband, away from heavy traffic and busy roads.

Local Bicycling Help

The League of American Bicyclists maintains an online database for local bicycling help.  You can go here to enter your  zip code and find classes, clubs, shops, and instructors.

General Bike Info

• The website Commute By Bike has lots of resources and tips for getting around more easily on your bicycle.
Bike to Work Week has information about biking events in the US and Canada.
• Be sure to check out the League of American Bicyclists for more ideas, including events by state and in Canada.

How often do you and your family ride bikes? Do you commute to work on a bike? Share your bike stories!

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  1. Sandra Lee

    My husband just bought bikes for us at a garage sale. I’m looking forward to going for my first ride! BTW, May is also Multiple Chemicals Sensitivity Awareness Month, which is also deeply connected to our care for the planet and for ourselves. Up to 15% of people have some type of sensitivity to chemicals and fragrance (which is comprised of chemicals in most cases.)

    Thanks for the biking tips!
    .-= Sandra Lee’s last blog: Beyond stillness =-.

  2. Hannah

    We have been a one-car family for the past four and a half years! My husband commutes by bike every day, except in truly inclement weather when he rides his bike to the bus. We save money on gas and insurance, he doesn’t need to join a gym, and our car insurer (State Farm) gives us a discount for bike commuters. Occasionally on the weekend, it’s inconvenient when we each need to go someplace with one or more of the kids, but we’ve always worked it out somehow. I guess it keeps us from going in too many different directions as a family! (Recently, for emergencies he’s used the Car2Go carshare program.)
    Our family owns a couple different bike attachments for hauling the kids around. I wrote about our favorite in this post about family biking:

    Great topic, Katie!
    .-= Hannah’s last blog: Strawberry Delight =-.

  3. Kara

    I love riding bikes, although I haven’t had once since high school. This article sure brings back memories of my childhood! I’m itching to ride one now!

  4. Prof. Kitty

    Hooray for biking! But there’s something missing from the people in the photos–never forget to wear a helmet when biking! Even if it’s just a jaunt down the street, your brain deserves some respect and protection in the form of a bike helmet.

  5. Nikki Moore

    This makes me wish even more that we had bikes/somewhere to keep them! We live in a second story apartment, with no garage (it was an extra $40-50 per month!!) and very limited storage. We both work pretty close to home and especially for my husband, it’d be a super easy bike ride!

    I do wonder if anyone is in our situation, and has found a way to make this work?
    .-= Nikki Moore’s last blog: cooking dry beans =-.

  6. Maria

    Our insurance company lists our car as a recreational vehicle because my husband bikes to work which lowered our insurance rates. We live within a mile of his work. He walks on days when it’s cold and rainy.

    Nikki: Have you thought of hanging them from the roof of your balcony? I see that a lot around here (I live in Portland, OR, bike capital of the US, I think!).

    • Nikki Moore

      Hmm…our balcony doesn’t really have an overhang of any kind…but there might be space for hanging them on the “walls.” Thanks for the tip…we will think about that for sure.
      .-= Nikki Moore’s last blog: cooking dry beans =-.

  7. Hanimal

    I bike/walk to work…and didn’t even know about “Bike to Work Week.” Hooray!!

    Thanks for the insurance tips, we will have to look into that.

    Also, regarding bike storage, a free wall kind of turns your bike into an interesting artwork….you can stand it up on a tire to reduce its footprint in your house. Mine gets parked in the kitchen when it rains…not the most appropriate spot, but it works for now.

  8. chris

    I never knew about the option of choosing your transportation mode! Thanks! We have a trailer for my bike and I’m trying to use it more for transportation, but currently we just use it for the park, pool, or corner store. The library and a few other things are also bike-able distances, but currently the roads aren’t really safe for bikers, especially not with my daughter behind me. There’s a lot of road improvements on the schedules here though, so hopefully that will change soon!
    .-= chris’s last blog: Adventures in Park, Adventures in Palate =-.

  9. Heidi

    I REALLY wish I could bike to work. Unfortunately, my commute takes 45min on a good day … in my car. If I were to bike it, I’d be so late every day. I guess if I pretend I am in a different time zone and leave several hours early …

    • Katie

      Is it 45 min in traffic or 45 minutes at 60mph? If it’s traffic, you should try the bike! You might be surprised at how bikes are able to zoom on past traffic and save time.

      • Heidi

        45min without traffic. With traffic = an hour plus, and it’s all freeway 🙁

  10. Aiming4Simple

    We love bikes! My husband commutes on two wheels most days. I’m looking forward to my 6-year-old daughter learning to ride soon. Then I can pull the other two behind me while she zips along with me!
    .-= Aiming4Simple’s last blog: Wordless Wednesday: Backyard Fun Without a Swing Set =-.

  11. Primal Toad

    I love this post! I have been riding my mothers bike a little (I dont have one yet) and actually just got the gears fixed. I can’t wait to take some long bike rides (50-100 miles or more!) and commute those short distances instead of taking the car.

    I go to my sisters boyfriends house 3 days a week to let the dog out – its 2.5 miles one way – perfect for a nice bike ride. Perfect for low level aerobic activity too!

    There was also an article about cycling in my local newspaper. A group of cyclists did a cycling silence near our local zoo. I hope we are heading in the right direction!
    .-= Primal Toad’s last blog: Barefoot Sprint Intervals Outside In My Backyard =-.

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