May is National Bike Month! If the cold and snowy winter had you relying on your car to get you places, now is the perfect time to "switch gears" and start biking. The League of American Bicyclists is celebrating this month by designating next week, May 11-15, as Bike-to-Work Week and Friday, May 15, as Bike-to-Work Day. There are numerous environmental, economic, transportation, and health reasons to exchange your gas pedal for a pair of bike pedals, even if it is just for one outing.
Pedal Versus Pedal Facts (taken from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center
(PBIC) website, www.bicyclinginfo.org/index.cfm
- Riding your bike, instead of driving your car, on a four-mile round trip reduces air pollutants by approximately 15 pounds.
- 60% of pollutants from automobile emissions are released during the first few minutes after starting the car.
- "Cold starts" result in high levels of automobile emissions, therefore shorter car trips cause greater pollution per mile than longer trips.
- 40% of all car trips are shorter than 2 miles - the equivalent to a 10 minute bike ride.
- The cost to operate a sedan for one year is $7,800 while the cost to operate a bike is only $120 for one year.
Celebrating National Bike Month
- Bicycling is a low-impact sport that is easy on your joints.
- Bicycling on a regular basis can improve aerobic fitness which has been associated with prevention of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Celebration Safety Tips
- Participate in one of two rides on May 15, 2009 that are part of the 4th Annual Bike to Work Day, Detroit Bikes! sponsored by the Detroit Synergy Project (for more information on the rides visit www.detroitsynergy.org/projects/biketoworkday).
- Bike to work.
- Bike with your child to school.
- Choose at least one destination that you can ride your bike to rather than driving your car.
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.
- Service your bike (either yourself or at a bike shop) to ensure tires, gears, and brakes are in working order.
- Wear a helmet.
- Follow the traffic rules.
- Map out your route before you begin.
- Bring portable first aid kit, cell phone, water, and healthy snacks.
Labels: bicycling, Bike-to-Work Day, Bike-to-Work Week, biking, Detroit Synergy, League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month, PBIC, Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center