Ride Your Bike to Work Week

By Diane Becker

Get your bike out of the corner of the garage and wipe off the dust from winter. The week of May 14-18th is Ride Your Bike to Work Week and people are encouraged to ride their bikes to work and school.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, half of the American population lives within five miles of their school or workplace- a distance easily covered in a bike. Since 1956, May has been designated at National Bike Month and the third Friday of May as Bike to Work Day.

The 7 Cities Century Bike Ride is also going to start in Norfolk on August 11 so now is the time to start putting the miles on your bike and join them. To sign up for the Bike Ride that goes throughout Madison County, go to http://www.7citiescentury.com.

The League emphasizes that riders take the following precautions.

•Have your bike checked over by your local bike shop

•Always wear a helmet to protect your head in the event of a crash

•Ride in the right-most lane that goes in the direction that you are traveling

•Obey all stop signs, traffic lights and lane markings

•Look before you change lanes or signal a turn; indicate your intention, then act

•Be visible and predictable at all times; wear bright clothing and signal turns

When taking all the precautions of riding a bike, people are able to save gas and get exercise. Here are some commonly asked questions about riding a bike to work.

Overcoming biking excuses:

I’m out of shape

• Ride at an easy pace; in a few weeks you will be in great shape.

• Ride your route on a weekend to find the easiest way to work.

• You will improve your fitness level when you become a regular bike commuter.

It takes too long

• The average commuter travels at 10 mph; the more you ride, the faster you will become.

• Trips of less than three miles will be quicker by bike.

• Trips of five to seven miles in urban areas may take the same time or less as by car.

No bike parking

• Look around for a storage area in your building or office.

• Stash your bike in a covered, secure place such as a closet or even your office.

• Formally request that your employer provide bike parking or lock it up outside.

My bike is beat up

• Tell a reputable bike shop that you are commuting and have them tune up your bike.

• If you can’t maintain your bike yourself, identify bike shops near your route.

• Make sure that your bike is reliable and in good working order before you ride.

No showers

• Most commuters don’t shower at work; ride at an easy pace to stay cool and dry.

• Ride home at a fast pace if you want a workout; shower when you get there.

I have to dress up

• Keep multiple sets of clothing at work; rotate them on days you drive.

• Pack clothes with you and change at work; try rolling clothes instead of folding.
The roads aren’t safe

• Obey traffic signs, ride on the right, signal turns, and stop at lights.

• Wear bright clothing.

• You are at no greater risk than driving a car.

• Wear a helmet every time you ride.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, bicycling has been proved to stimulate circulation, relieve stress, promote positive thinking and even increase creative thought.