May is National Bike Month and this year Bike to Work Week is May 16-20and Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20. Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, the event seeks to promote riding your bike to work mainly as part of the Green movement. They also serve as advocate of bicycling in general. Interestingly enough, Milwaukee despite a growing bike community – including buses having racks for bicycles – has no events under the envelope of the League. It may just be that no organization is allied with the League as we do have bicycling groups here.
In Wisconsin, Bike to Work Week is actually June 6 – 10 (maybe to allow for better weather than what Wisconsinites can experience in May as we are this week and last with winds and evening frost advisories).
Those who bike to work – or for any type of commuting including shopping and general travel – save gas, and also get exercise and improve their health. These days most of us are looking at options to reduce gas – whether for environmental or financial reasons – especially with $4 gas prices., but the health aspect is as important to note as the gas savings. Health issues are a great source of cost to everyone. Of course there is your own personal health that you can improve and reduce healthcare costs. But it is important to try to get everyone healthier because of overall insurance costs. The healthier we all are the less health costs we will all have as those with insurance will not be paying as much for those without. That is an important aspect of non-insured and unhealthy people – the cycle (pun intended) of lack of health care leading to more health issues leading to greater costs to insure. You see when an uninsured person gets medical care some or all of their care may be written off or discounted – and guess who pays for the money written off – in part those paying for insurance.
Anyway – back to cycling – the benefits of riding a bike are exponential and not to be overlooked of you have a manageable commute. Besides the gas and health savings, bikes also take up a lot less space and could reduce the need for parking structures which anyone would admit are unsightly constructs in our cities, not to mention the reduction in emissions. Bikes are a much less expensive option up front and ongoing maintenance than a car, so for some communities biking could be promoted as a first option – along with public transportation – as a means to commute to work.
Personally I am a tele-commuter, a virtual employee so I have no drive or ride to work, but when I did most recently I ‘biked’ to work. I rode my motorcycle – which is another good two-wheeled option due to the gas mileage difference. There are even more and more electric motorcycles coming out which is an even better option than electric cars with far shorter charge times and often longer charge distances.
This week, consider taking two-wheels to work. Or use this National week to prepare yourself for Wisconsin’s week in June. And if you work near downtown – you can usually stop by Transfer and Via restaurants and get a discount for cycling (and taking the bus).