May is National Bike Month and May 16, 2014 is National Bike to Work Day.
National Bike Month was started in 1956 as an opportunity to show people the benefits of cycling and to convince them to give it a try. Nearly 60 years later, The League of American Bicyclists is still organizing events throughout May, because introducing more people to cycling has become even more important.
Biking is at a pivotal point—most city biking programs are in their early stages, biking infrastructure has improved but still needs a lot of work and global warming is an issue getting increasing amounts of attention. The best way to improve cycling in the U.S. is to make more people into passionate riders—increasing the amount of bike commuters is the best way to do that.
That’s why The League of American Cyclists called National Bike to Work Day “the biggest day of the month.”
More than half of the U.S. population lives within five miles of their workplace, making bicycling a feasible and fun way to get to work. With increased interest in healthy, sustainable and economic transportation options, it’s not surprising that, from 2000 to 2011, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 47 percent.
The League and organizers around the U.S. are working to make that number even higher and today is their best opportunity. In 2010, 43 of the 51 largest U.S. cities hosted Bike to Work Day events and despite less than perfect weather in much of the country many major cities are hosting parties and events today.
This morning in New York City there were checkpoints with free coffee, KIND bars and bike gear giveaways. At night there will be a Bike Home from Work Party in Brooklyn, which is said to be the largest celebration of commuter cycling in the U.S.
In the DC area, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) has partnered with Commuter Connections to organize 79 pit stops with refreshments and giveaways throughout DC, Maryland and Virginia.
Indianapolis has a full day of events and accommodations planned, everything from free showers and lockers to a free “lunch and learn” for bike commuting. They’re even hosting a Blessing of the Bikes with a Rabbi and a Reverend.
San Francisco held their 20th Annual Bike to Work Day Celebration on May 8, but they have many other events planned throughout the month.