It’s National Bike Month. Let’s Ride Bikes!

May is National Bike Month†and what a perfect time for it, too. Spring has sprung, and everyone is relishing the thought of the long, lazy days that lie ahead.

This time of year makes even the most ardent of couch potatoes want to shake off winterís cobwebs and head outdoors.

A Brief Look at National Bike Month

The League of American Bicyclists might have established National Bike Month in 1956 (and sponsored the annual event ever since), but they werenít the first to cotton onto the idea that May has ideal cycling weather.

A brief look at the history of National Bike month takes us as far back as 1897, when advertisers declared May “the best bicycle month of the year”.

The League (as theyíre known colloquially) is of the opinion that bicycling brings people together. They believe the more people ride bikes, the better life is. Communities are better connected, and the†country as a whole is healthier, economically stronger, environmentally cleaner and more energy independent.

Their goal is to create a bicycle-friendly America for everyone.

I believe we should aim for a bicycle-friendly world. Here in South Africa, Open Streets Cape Town is of a similar opinion, albeit from a broader perspective. Their mission is to change how we use, perceive and experience streets.

National Bike to Work Week 2018

Held from May 14Ė18, National Bike to Work Week is an opportunity for you to ditch the car (and even the bus) and bike to the office. For those of you who canít fathom an entire week of cycling, Bike to Work Day is May 18.

If youíre fortunate enough to work within cycling distance of your home, the week is a wonderful opportunity to get some exercise, enjoy the warmer weather and possibly even make new friends. Here are some tips to help make it easier to†exchange four wheels for two.

The Many Benefits of Cycling

The number of cyclists across America has grown significantly in recent years. According to the National Household Travel Survey, the number of trips made by bicycle in the U.S. more than doubled in 2009. Many commuters ride their bikes year-round.

Before you complain that itís too cold to cycle in winter, read Jill Homerís book Into the North Wind, which chronicles her ride along the iconic Iditarod Trail in Alaska. And if you’re worried about a sweaty commute in the summer, check out these ideas to make it easy breezy.

Making cycling a year-round activity comes with a host of benefits.

Cycling Keeps You Healthy

Cycling boasts a range of physical health benefits. Among other things, it increases cardiovascular fitness, improves joint mobility and strengthens bones.

Riding a bike is also good for your mental health. It lowers stress levels, reduces anxiety and depression and leaves you with better posture and coordination.

Cycling Keeps the Environment Healthy

The US Environmental Protection Agency claims a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. This will obviously vary depending on your mileage and make of car, so use the agencyís Carbon Footprint Calculator to get an idea of your personal impact.

The consequences of carbon emissions for humans is dire. If we donít get our bad habits in check we can look forward to shrinking water supplies, changes in food supply and increases in severe weather.

Depending on where in the world you live, you may already have experienced one or more of these.

With no need for fuel, toxic batteries or motor oil and requiring less energy to produce than a car, bicycles are†better for the environment by far. Thereís no denying it, the bicycle can†drive green development on planet Earth.

Cycling Keeps Your Bank Account Healthy

Cycling is a way cheaper mode of transportation than a car.

You donít need a bank loan to buy a bicycle (unless you have aspirations of becoming the next Chris Froome). Your fuel expenditure is zero. Maintenance is minimal. A new set of tires doesnít cost the earth. The list goes on, but hopefully Iíve made my point.

national bike month

Bike Tours and†Vacations

Cycling isnít just the domain of commuters and professional athletes, however. If youíre looking for something different for your next vacation, why not try cycle touring? With its extensive network of cycle paths and spectacular scenery, Europe is the perfect destination for a cycling holiday.

There are plenty of long-distance bicycle routes in the U.S. as well. Some, like the Trans America Trail, are really long. Weíre talking in excess of 4000 miles. While others pose more doable distances. The Denali Highway in Alaska for example, is only 133 miles.

If the cycling bug bites, you may even finding yourself selling everything you own and biking across America on a solo adventure like Tyler Metcalfe did. Itís apparently not that expensive either. Some say $7 a day will get you from one end to the other.

Not everyone has the time (or inclination) to embark on such epic journeys. If that’s you, there’s always the option of a†guided bike tour in your city or the city you’re visiting. They’re usually less than half a day long and are a great way to discover new places.

Whatever you decide, just make sure you get out there and ride. National Bike Month is the perfect time to start!

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

75 comments

Maria P
Maria P8 days ago

thanks for this

SEND
Chrissie R
Chrissie R1 months ago

Thank you for posting.

SEND
Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer1 months ago

Boo hoo - I never learned!

SEND
Cindy S
Past Member 1 months ago

thanks

SEND
Anna R
Anna R1 months ago

Thank you for sharing

SEND
Carole R
Carole R1 months ago

Ride on.

SEND
Angela AWAY K
Angela K2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

SEND
Teresa W
Teresa W2 months ago

thank you

SEND
Kathy G
Kathy G2 months ago

Thank you

SEND
Toni W
Toni W2 months ago

TYFS

SEND