People Use Bicycles Photo By earcosThe Month of May is upon us and with May brings National Bike Month. The month is meant to promote bicycle ridership throughout the country. Yesterday, May 15th marked Bike to Work Day, where thousands chucked their cars and avoided the packed trains for a bit of freedom. Yesterday was actually a record breaking National Bike to Work Day!! More people than any year ever glided their way to work. In fact the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition reported that more than 200,000 people in San Francisco alone, chose to ride their bikes as transportation yesterday!!! This figure is insanely impressive!

Bike to Work Day Photo By Commodore Gandalf CunninghamAnd even though yesterday marked the official Bike to Work Day, we are happy to spread the word that Bike Commuting is actually on the rise! Last summer’s gas crisis and growing Global Warming concerns may be fueling, no pun intended, the current rise in biking. Cities all over the country are starting to report an increase in bike ridership. San Francisco reported a 43% increase in ridership from 2006 and New York City reported an increase of 35% from 2007 to 2008. Even here in Boston, biking is all the rage, undeterred by the fact the city won “Worst City to Bike In” a few times and has landed on the Top 10 Bike Theft Cities (I can attest to this statistic, as my Bike was stolen this winter). Despite these labels, Boston has seen a bit of a biking Renaissance with Mayor Menino becoming a bicyclist himself, the hiring of a “Bike Czar” to revamp the cities bicycling laws, and an overall growing increase in commuting to work via Bicycle. It is clear bike commuting is on the rise in America, even in the “The Worst City to Bike In.”

On top of people choosing to commute on two wheels, companies are now starting to give incentives to their employees who ride in to work. Including companies such as Yahoo who provides employees bikes to loan, showers, lockers, and free tune ups. Or how about Clif Bars who offer employees $500 to repair an old bike or buy a new one if they pledge to use the bike a mere two times a month!  If that wasn’t enough, the first bailout passed last October included a monthly tax break of $20 per month per cycling employee for businesses. And recently The League of American Bicyclists has honored businesses who promote bicycle use through their Bicycle Friendly Business program. Check out the full list of bike loving businesses!

Bike Bike Bike Photo frankhSo why the sudden rise in bicycling? Well as we mentioned before, rising gas prices and environmental concerns seem to be the largest motivation. And these are valid worries as it has increasingly become clear that riding a bike for transportation services is probably the most eco friendly transportation around, well besides hoofing it! But when you take a hard look at exactly how bicycling benefits the environment, the facts are sobering to say the least. Bicycling is a healthy way to commute without the use of carbon emitting fuels such as gasoline and oil refining, cuts down water pollution emitted by cars, not to mention air and ozone pollution, and of course they emit no noise pollution! In fact you can calculate exactly how much money saved, CO2 reduction, and calories burned per mile on REI’s Bike Your Drive Calculator. With Americans and the world concerned about the state of Earth, as we should be: she is only home after all, bike commuting is an easy and simple way to go green! And why not, it also keeps you healthy, fit, and happy!!

Although, Bike to Work Day is over, National Bike Month continues for the rest of May. So check out the events in your area and jump on that two wheeled, zero emissions, exercise transport and get your Green on! And to all the avid bicyclists of the world, we thank you and keep up the encouragement. Times they will be a changing! 

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