Get on your bike and ride! National Bike to Work Day is coming up this Friday, May 17. If that isn’t enough for you, Washington State celebrates Bike Everywhere Month and Bay Area celebrated May 9. I guess these tech hubs are leading the way in all the trends.
SF Bicycle Coalition, busy at 4th & King Caltrain station on Bike to Work Day 2019
Among these leaders is SF2G, a group of super-commuters that bike up to 40+ miles each way from San Francisco to most of the companies located down the Peninsula and South Bay. What started as a group of Google employees has grown into 3,600 people over the last 15 years.
According to the US Census Bureau, in 2014 biking to work was up 60% over the previous decade. While participation has dipped in recent years (likely due to lower oil prices) it has increased in some places where municipalities and corporations have created safety and marketing programs. For example, Pittsburgh’s bike commuters increased over 130% after they installed bike lanes!
We hit the streets and asked our riders if they bike to work, and if not, why not, and this is what we heard:
“I tried biking to work but I got too sweaty”
“I wouldn’t have anywhere to store my bike”
“I used to bike to work but I moved to Mountain View with my family so it’s a bit far now.”
Those are some valid excuses, no one wants to be a stinky mess all day. Not all offices have showers and bike racks, but a lot of companies are willing to make changes when it comes to employee quality of life. Talk to fellow coworkers, maybe others are wanting to ride. You can collectively, or individually, bring it up to your HR department to see what is possible at your workplace. Some employers actively push bike commuting, for example, Jamba Juice and New Belgium Brewing provide free bikes to employees, while Clif Bar, Honest Tea and Patagonia offer actual financial incentives. If your company has any kind of wellness program, it could be a no-brainer to introduce some sort of program for bike commuting too.
Of course, as suburbs continue to expand distance becomes a factor, but some cities, like Seattle, are investing in light rail infrastructure. Now long-distance commuters can combine biking with a more robust public transportation, increasing ridership. With more people biking to work, it’s up to cities to follow Pittsburg’s lead, prioritizing biker safety, which in turn leads to more riders. If you’re not sure where to start, finding like-minded people is a great place. Grassroots bike coalitions, clubs, and groups are popping up locally around the country. Try a simple google search to see what exists in your area. I mean, who doesn’t want to avoid sitting in traffic, help save the environment and get healthy all at the same time?