Did you know?  May is National Bike Month. Not only that, but today is the kick off for National Bike-to-Work Week, and this Friday, May 21, is National Bike-to-Work Day.  So, if you’re not ready to hop on your bike today, you have all week to prepare and still participate.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, over half of the U.S. population lives within five miles of their workplace. Yet only about five percent of commuters use a bicycle to get to their place of work.  Bikes offer many benefits to both people and the planet, so here’s three reasons to take a closer look.

1.  Biking is Great for Our Health

Obviously, biking is great exercise.  The commute can become a time for activity and health, rather than a time of frustration and idleness in a car.  Many people struggle to find time for exercise, but biking instead of driving helps you build exercise into your daily routine as a way of life.

Here’s a cool statistic: 80% of people who switch from sedentary commuting to biking show great improvements in health in just six to eight weeks.  And usually, healthier people equals happier people.  That’s a benefit that can’t be measured.

Photo by John Talbot

2.  Biking is Great for the Environment

When you ride a bike instead of driving a car, you reduce air pollution.  Short car trips can cause up to three times more pollution than long trips, and those are the very trips that could be replaced by bikes. You prevent the release of 3.6 pounds of pollutants per mile when you bike instead of drive.  Not only that, but you reduce the need for fuel (oil). And ten bikes can be parked in the space of one parking spot.

3.  Biking is Great for Your Wallet

Depending on where you live, choosing to bike to work will save you money on fuel, parking fees, car maintenance work, and transit fares.  If you are able to get rid of your car entirely, you will save on monthly payments and car insurance, too.  What a boon to your monthly budget that would be!

Photo by Jonathan Rees

Biking Resources

Here in our home, we have just made the decision to become a one-car family.  We live about three and a half miles from my husband’s office – an easy biking distance.  We are going to sell one of our cars, and my husband will ride to work instead of driving. If it’s raining too hard, I will drop him off and pick him up.

Find a Route

We didn’t think there was a good, safe route for him to take, but then we looked it up on Google Maps for Bicycling.  Did you know that was an option?  When you enter your starting address and destination address, you can then choose your mode of transportation from a drop-down menu: by car, walking, public transit (if available), and by bicycling.  We found a great bike route for my husband, away from heavy traffic and busy roads.

Local Bicycling Help

The League of American Bicyclists maintains an online database for local bicycling help.  You can go here to enter your  zip code and find classes, clubs, shops, and instructors.

General Bike Info

• The website Commute By Bike has lots of resources and tips for getting around more easily on your bicycle.
Bike to Work Week has information about biking events in the US and Canada.
• Be sure to check out the League of American Bicyclists for more ideas, including events by state and in Canada.

How often do you and your family ride bikes?  Do you commute to work on a bike?  Share your bike stories!