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Improve Your Life: Bike to Work

Posted Jan 11 2009 4:22pm

From U.S. News & World Report, 01.10.09 :
Ride Your Bike to Work
You can save money on gas and get some extra exercise

On a freezing November morning in Chicago, Megan Mason puts on leggings, several polyester tops and a fleece, a windbreaker, four pairs of gloves, and silk sock liners. She ties a bandana over her head, dons earmuffs, snaps on a helmet, safety-pins a scarf into a cocoon around her head, and gets on her bright green Schwinn for a 6.5-mile ride to work.

Surely anyone who braves Windy City cold must be a hardcore biker. But Mason, a 27-year-old curriculum analyst at the Northwestern University School of Law , is new to the ranks of cycle commuters--one of thousands of Americans who this year have switched to pedal power. It's too soon for national numbers, but many cities and counties are reporting a surge. In Chicago, 3,500 people rode in a spring Bike to Work day, up from 2,800 last year. Bikestation , a nonprofit that has six indoor parking facilities for cyclists on the West Coast, mainly in downtown neighborhoods, has seen a 30 percent increase in usage in the past year...

The thought of urban cycling can pose a minicrisis for a newcomer. Mason had to overcome her fear of city streets and dark winter nights. How do you make the leap from wannabe to bike commuter? Cycling gurus are happy to offer advice. ( Read more .)
The momentum continues for bicycling in 2009, with this " 50 Ways to Improve Your Life in 2009 " feature in an important national news magazine. "Bike to Work" tops the suggestions for the "Your Body" category--which also suggests napping and an eye exam--in U.S. News & World Report's " 50 Ways to Improve Your Life in 2009 " feature.

Despite the recent decline in gas prices, this new year is a very promising one for bicycle commuting. This article mentions the new Bicycle Commuter Act taking effect in 2009, which can help employers support bicycle-related expenses. Much of the political talk is of a need for economic stimulus, which could present opportunities to improve local bicycling conditions (more on this later.) And two new bicycle commuting books are now out to help aspiring bike commuters: my own book (with Roni Sarig) The Bike to Work Guide: What You Need to Know to Save Gas, Go Green, Get Fit ; and the Bike to Work Book , by Tim Grahl of CommutebyBike.com and Carlton Reid of BikeforAll.net .

One of the best ways to encourage more bicycle commuting is to simply keep riding, offering a visible presence on the streets and role model among our associates. What else do you plan to do to encourage more bicycle commuting among your colleagues and friends in 2009?

Image: U.S. News & World Report
Visit: Thrifty Living: Get on your bike to make big savings , The Independent (UK)
Visit: Letters: Bike to Work Perks , U.S. News & World Report
Visit: A Surge in Bicyclists Appears to be Waiting , New York Times
Visit: Bikes back in fashion as eco-friendly alternative , Japan Times
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site
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