Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on May 12, 2008
For those of us looking to find an excuse, any excuse, not to ride our bikes — too far, too hot, too many cars, helmet hair — spare a thought for our bicycled brethren, or “wheelmen”, of the late 1800s, who braved “rutted roads of gravel and dirt and faced antagonism from horsemen, wagon drivers, and pedestrians”. It’s a great opportunity to pay tribute to our two-wheeled predecessors of The League of American Bicyclists (who lobbied for paved roads, amongst other things) by partaking in Bike to Work week, running May 12-16, or for the more unfit/realistic among us, Bike to Work Day on May 16th. The Bike to Work efforts are part of The League of American Bicyclists broader Bike Month initiative. Their website offers 50 ways to inspire us all to ride bikes, ranging from the serious to, quite frankly, the rather silly. Suggestions include: riding with your child to school (good idea); planning a cycling vacation (sure); wearing spandex to your next board meeting (I think this one’s more of a deterrent); renting a classic bicycling movie (couch potatoes love the vicarious biking experience); and decorating a cake with a bicycle theme (surely this one is a cop out!). Maybe I’m being harsh. Or maybe the League just has a wicked sense of humor.
If you need more encouragement, here’re a few suggestions of my own. Riding a bike will help you: save money — with gas heading to whopping $4 a gallon, driving a car is expensive but riding a bike is free; lose weight — downing a caramel latte and a muffin on your morning motor vehicle commute adds calories, whereas a 30 minute bike ride burns 150 calories or more; and finally, saving the environment — forget your age or your shoe size, your carbon footprint is the figure du jour, and as peddle power generates no carbon emissions, you can feel good about planetary well-being.
As for me, I thankfully have an excuse. I’m working from home next week. True story.