Bike to Work Day Rally at Freedom Plaza, 2009

Bike to Work Day Rally at Freedom Plaza, 2009

(Guest post by Rob Arner)

Did you know May is National Bike Month?  People will celebrate it with various activities around the nation, including Bike-to-Work Week from May 17-21. Bike-to-Work Day will take place Friday, May 21. (That morning, get breakfast, tune-ups and prizes at the Bethesda pit stop)

Living in Bethesda for over 40 years, I have become an avid cyclist.  There is no better way to get around.  It is quicker and cheaper, has no parking problems and I enjoy the exercise.  Also there are lots of other psychological benefits:  I get to slow down, get a feel of the community and lessen my environmental impact.  As an expert in used oil recycling, I also believe in another type of “re-cycling”; this is why biking is my thing.  Also I have documents showing the numerous water impacts cars have on the Little Falls and other area watersheds.

According to WorldWatch Institute, a short, four-mile round-trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air.  Also the Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey found that 25 percent of all trips are made within a mile of the home, 40 percent of all trips are within two miles of the home, and 50 percent of the working population commutes five miles or less to work. Yet more than 82 percent of trips five miles or less are made by personal motor vehicle. Sixty percent of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively. Since “cold starts” create high levels of emissions, shorter car trips are more polluting on a per-mile basis than longer trips. (Learn more about why you should ride for the environment.)

Commuting by bike reflects the tenor of the times because of its health benefits and low environmental impact. Biking to work or using a bike to run errands prevents pollution, saves you gas or transit money, and benefits us all by reducing oil and gas use.  Biking also can be less stressful than hanging out in area traffic. Riding a bike can give you fresh air outside the gym and allow you to see more of the outside world. Also you may consider taking a bike to the subway or to the bus stop.

There are many wonderful ways you can explore neighborhoods and get a sense of our beloved Bethesda community pedaling around.  Increase everyone’s quality of life here:  Bicycle as much as you can!

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Cycling Links:

Bike to Work Day, May 21

Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Local Biking Maps

Bike Safety

Dollars and Sense: Calculating Money and Environmental Benefits of Bike Commuting (Sustainablog)