Tips for Getting There by Bike
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Of all the ways there are to get from point A to B, cycling is arguably the most fun. What's not to like? The fresh air, the exercise, the exhilarating rush down a big hill. Now that the days are getting longer and the temperature more congenial, why not dust off your bicycle and consider the two-wheel way to get around?
Not only will biking help get you in shape for spring and summer, but it'll also bring you closer to your community and protect the environment too. You can travel thousands of miles by bicycle without creating air pollution. Here are some tips to get you cycling:
- Take a class.
Sure, you know how to ride a bike, but do you know how to ride safely among other cyclists or on a road with cars? A bicycle safety class can give you the confidence to ride in all sorts of conditions. Find a class in your area here. While you're at it, why not stop by your local bike shop to learn how to maintain your bike and repair a flat?
- Bike to work.
If not every day, try one or two days a week. A good way to start is by signing up for Bike to Work Week in early May. Use Google Maps to plan a safe and convenient route.
- Take a load off.
Add a carrier rack or baskets to your bike to make it easier to transport your briefcase or groceries. Learn about the cargo you can carry with the video Bicycle Bag Basics.
- Hit the trails.
EarthShare member Rails-to-Trails Conservancy offers TrailLink, a robust source of FREE trail information including trail descriptions, maps, pictures and more.
- Go far.
Feeling ambitious? Join the 300-mile Climate Ride to raise money for organizations supporting bicycle advocacy and climate change solutions.
- Support bicycle infrastructure.
If bicycling is difficult or dangerous, people won't want to try it. That's why bike lanes, traffic calming design, driver education and plentiful bike racks are so important for building a bicycle-friendly culture. Read about the first protected bike lanes in Tampa in 2015 and Houston in 2016 and tell your local leaders you want good infrastructure for cyclists. For publications related to building bike and pedestrian transportation systems, see this publication page from the U.S. DOT's Federal Highway Admiinistration (including the 2016 Bike Network Mapping Idea Book!).
Believe It or Not!
If you biked to work rather than drove, you could save 407 gallons of gasoline each year - half the amount burned annually by a typical American car. Apart from walking (and distance permitting), there is no more energy efficient way to get to work than by bike. More than half of all commuting trips are 5 miles or less in length, a distance that could easily be covered by bicycle.