You’ve probably noticed by now that next week is Bike To Work Week, beginning with a kick-off party this Friday May 10th from 7:30- 9:00 A.M. at the Jane Snyder Trail Center. Our Wrap-Up Party will be the following Friday May 17th at the Bike LNK headquarters from 4- 6:30, 206 S. Antelope Valley Pkwy. Don’t forget that you can take your bike on StarTran buses if you’re worried you can’t ride both ways, or if the weather is too much for you to face.
But there are so many more places you can ride. I believe many people drive purely out of habit, and the herd mentality makes it the default choice when leaving the house. I often see my neighbors get into their cars and come back ten minutes later with some small item. If they’d biked, it would have been a 20 minute trip, usually an insignificant difference in time. Once someone has accepted the idea that utility cycling is a possibility, I think the next hurdle is planning. How much time is needed to get to a destination you may not have ridden to before? I figure roughly twice the time it would take to drive, but do take conditions into account. If you have a headwind, leave more time. What about carrying capacity? Things are easy to haul if you have a trailer. You can drop off recycling on the way to the store, then load your purchases for the trip back, if you plan your route to do so. Also, larger-capacity panniers and more frequent, smaller trips will give you an excuse to get on the bike to do an errand when you might not find one otherwise.
The benefits are many. No parking hassles visiting the farmers market. Rock-star parking at the grocery store, movies, or restaurant. Of course, do take care to have a suitable lock, and lights if you’ll be out after dusk. Not sure how to get safely where you want to go? First, remember you’re not in a car. You don’t have to take the same route you would if driving. There are often quieter, more enjoyable options. A route that is longer but uses trails or side streets may not take any more time because you’re not stuck in traffic. Explore the options, or look at a trail map.
Speaking of trails and maps, we are cooking up some ride buddy commuting groups for bike to work week. If you would like to meet up with other commuters going your way next week, Tuesday expect to see routes from different parts of the city posted with a time and place for “getting on the bike train.” One of the things that’s great about bike commuting are the other people you see doing it, too.