National Bike to Work Day

There are tons of events across the country as part of National Bike Month, and one of the most popular is Bike to Work Day, which is this Friday, May 18.

Depending on where you live, biking to work may be a common, every day practice. But in many places, especially smaller towns, the overwhelming majority of people drive themselves to work.

Biking to work is not always feasible, and that's understandable. Back in 2013, my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time!) and I celebrated Bike to Work Day, when we were both at different jobs. Our bike commutes were about 3 1/2 miles each, and we had simple alternative routes that allowed us to avoid main roads.

We were able to ride together for awhile, then split off to each head toward our offices. It was blessedly not too hot outside yet, so it was still a fairly comfortable ride, and I didn't have to tote anything large to work.

We had a great time that day, and even biked to a lunch spot between both of our offices, so we could enjoy a fun little lunch date.

Since then, my husband and I have both switched jobs (and upgraded our relationship status a few times!) and while he actually works much closer to home, I am much farther. He has ridden his bike to work a few times in the past year or so, depending on the weather and if he had any out-of-office meetings.

My commute now is almost three times as long as my previous one, and takes me through some very bike-unfriendly areas - areas with no sidewalks, no easy side-road alternatives, passing under an interstate and along a highway with just a shoulder and no bike lane. It's certainly not a ride I would be comfortable doing alone, and it would take me close to an hour to get to my office!

But, I'm still a big fan of Bike to Work Day! You'll build in your workout for the day, you'll save on gas and you'll get a different appreciation for your commute.

Are you considering biking to work on Friday, or at some point during National Bike Month? Here are a few pointers to help you get ready.

  • Get your bicycle is tuned up and ready to go.
  • Carry a pouch of bike repair tools, just in case something happens while you're riding.
  • Make sure you have a helmet, lights and a lock.
  • Either carry some personal toiletries with you or keep some in your office - deodorant, perfume/cologne/essential oil, a hairbrush, etc. You may find you want to freshen up for the day after your morning commute.
  • If you have gear to bring to and from the office, like a portfolio, notebook or laptop, make sure you have a safe way to transport everything. Many commuters use a backpack, and some use a front basket or rear panniers.
  • Plan your route in advance. Can you follow the same route that you would in your car, or do you need to find side streets and alternate ways? 
  • Use Google Maps or another resource to estimate how long it will take you to bike to work compared to driving. I'm not sure how lenient your boss might be, but I'm not advising that National Bike to Work Day is a free excuse to be late!

Always remember to follow your local and state bicycle laws.

So, maybe biking to work isn't feasible for you, but you're still interested in leaving your car at home sometimes. This Friday, take advantage of the Lafayette Transit System offering a No Pay Bus Day. That's right - fares are free all day! It's being held in conjunction with Bike to Work Day, and is another opportunity for riders to avoid congestion.

Lafayette's city buses are also equipped to carry bicycles, should you find that a combination bus/bike commute is something that would work for you.

Visit the Lafayette Transit System website for route information.

Wherever you live, I hope you consider taking your bicycle to work this Friday! And if you do, I want to hear how your commute goes!

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