May is National Bike Month

With gas prices over the $4 mark, this is the perfect time to dust off that old bike in your garage and use it to ride to work, or just enjoy the great outdoors. The League of American Bicyclists has promoted May as the National Bike Month for the last 55 years. It’s the perfect time for new or returning riders to get back on the saddle and ride their bike to work. This month is celebrated by cities across America and includes Bike-to-Work WeekBike-to-School Day, and Bike-to-Work Day, as well as an innumerable number of special events. To find and participate in an event, just Google it or visit the League of American Bicyclists website.

So why cycle to work?

Cycling Environmentally Friendly. The bicycle is the vehicle of the future. It has a competitive edge in urban transit: it’s efficient, it’s economical, it’s healthy, it’s ecological, and it’s fashionable and fun! Too often overlooked and underrated, the bicycle is the simplest and most pleasure inducing way to get healthier while saving our environment and reconnecting with our community in a positive way.

More bicycle use means a smaller carbon footprint. Autos are the single largest source of U.S. air pollution. Short trips are up to three times more polluting per mile than long trips. When bicycling is substituted for short auto trips, 3.6 pounds of pollutants per mile are not emitted into the atmosphere.

Cycling is Healthy and Promotes Productivity. Over 66% of the adult US population is overweight and 32% of the US is obese, costing our nation $68 billion in health care and personal costs annually. Statistics on the lack of physical activity among children are also alarming. Most children are driven to school in cars or buses, and one child out of every 4 is overweight.

Medical research has well established the fact that a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity three days a week can reduce incidents of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension and improve mental health and cardiovascular fitness.

Employers in the community benefit from a healthy, active workforce. In addition to missing less work due to sickness, bicyclists generally accomplish more work. There’s nothing like riding to stimulate circulation, relieve stress, allow creative thought and establish a positive attitude toward oneself and one’s environment.

Bicyclists are less likely to be affected by traffic congestion. Whether they ride on bike paths or surface roads, bicycles are much more maneuverable than automobiles. Wide lanes, shoulders and bike lanes provide space for bicyclists to ride right past traffic and on to work.

Bicycle commuting is a great way to squeeze regular exercise into a hectic schedule. Commuting time can be used to stay in shape instead of sitting frustrated in traffic.

Bicycle commuters get to work on time more often and are happier and more productive. 80% of people who switch from sedentary commuting to cycling improve their heart, lungs and blood vessels greatly in 6-8 weeks, so they get sick much less often.

For a 180 pound man, a 10 mile round trip bike commute burns over 400 calories. For a 130-pound woman this same commute burns over 300 calories.

Cycling is Economical. Bicycle commuting saves on parking fees, parking tickets, fuel costs, auto maintenance costs and transit fares. In some large urban areas, it is possible to save over $200 per month on parking alone. A new bicycle and cycling gear would pay for itself in a few months. Cyclists can meet all of their transportation needs with a combination of bicycling, transit, and an occasional cab or rented car much cheaper than owning a car. Since the biggest cost of automobile ownership are paid up front (insurance and car payments), some people can free up about 25 percent of their income by getting rid of their car or their second car.

If the real taxpayer subsidy of autos were reflected in fuel taxes, a gallon of gasoline might cost as much as $9.00. That’s because other taxes cover the costs of road building, maintenance, parking space, police services and losses from accidents, pollution and congestion. If more commuters bicycled, these costs would go down. All taxpayers, businesses and citizens would save money!

Ten bikes can park in the space taken by a single motor vehicle. Since the costs of employee parking sites are growing, many companies are looking for cheaper alternatives. By promoting bicycling they reduce the parking problem, with happier, more productive employees as an excellent return on their investment.

So, get up off your butt and jump on your bike and enjoy National Bike Month. You’ll be glad you did.

Here are today’s numbers.

Route: Treeline
Activity: Cycle
Started: May 5, 2011 8:45:53 AM
Ride Time: 1:23:52
Stopped Time: 7:58
Distance: 22.64 miles
Average Speed: 16.19 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 23.85 miles/h
Ascent: 105 feet
Descent: 134 feet
Calories: 1401
Official: No

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