National Bike to Work Week 2014: May 26 – June 1
Next week is National Bike to Work Week and Friday is Bike to Work Day. The intent of these annual events is to encourage people to participate by celebrating with those that already do bike to work and promoting bicycling as a healthy commuting option for those that might just get hooked.
Bike to Work Week began in 1995 in Victoria, BC and this year they celebrate their 20th anniversary. In 2008 Bike to Work BC was formed and by 2013 more than 35 BC regions/communities now participate following Victoria’s lead. Snowballing across Canada, Ride to Work Week now inspires countless bike rides, safety inspections, commuter challenges, ribbon-cuttings, “share the road” promotions, and other varied celebrations of bicycling in communities.
Bike to Work Programs and Benefits
National Bike to Work Day is timed to coincide with the arrival of warmer weather. It is a great opportunity to get some exercise, save gas money and support the environment. Whether one rides purely for recreation, fitness, transportation, or just fun, this event promotes healthy, active, more sustainable lifestyles AND is guaranteed to reduce stress levels.
According to the BC Recreation and Parks Association and Canadian Research Institute, healthy employees save businesses money through:
- Improved productivity
- Improved staff moral
- Lower absenteeism and less turnover
- Fewer accidents and insurance claims
- Lower training and orientation cost
- More receptive working climate
Bike to Work programs not only help employees feel more energized, alert and happy, there is less need to provide staff parking stalls and more space available for customers. Why not install bike racks rather than stationary bikes in the gym?
Did you know that Bike to Work Week can help you sneak in some exercise?
- According to the Canadian Medical Association cycling (and brisk walking) just 15 to 20 minutes per day can reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases by up to 50%?
- Stats Canada reports that only 15% of adults are getting the recommended levels of at least 2.5 hours of exercise per week.
- Routine exercise reduces the risk of some cancers (like colon and breast cancer) up to 40%;
- Regular intense physical activity prevents age-related bone loss, and in some specific cases can reverse the effects.
Riding a bicycle is about getting back to basics. It’s good for the waistline and it’s good for the wallet, is what I’m saying.
~Phil Keoghan, Host “The Amazing Race”
Get ready for Bike to Work Week
Whether one is a new cyclist looking to get started or an experienced cyclist ready to start commuting by bike, Bike Sense and smartTRIPS Kelowna have great tips and resources to help you get your wheels rolling. If you haven’t ridden your bike yet this year, don’t forget to take it in to your local shop to see if it needs any repairs or a tune up. Likewise, ensure your helmet and any other gear (lights and rain gear) are in good condition. You don’t need expensive high-end equipment, but it does need to be in good operating condition to be safe.
Pre-trip route planning is important. Download a map If you can – pre-ride your route to work and note how long it takes so you can allow plenty of time to get to work. With a bit of research you should be able to find a pleasant route and minimize the need to ride in traffic – a map of bike routes
To bicycle, or not to bicycle: that is the question. Consider these benefits of pedaling:
- You just might get there faster – traffic only gets worse in the summer months and you travel three times as fast as walking!
- You will sleep more deeply – Stanford University School of Medicine found insomnia sufferers that cycle for 20-30 minutes every other day reduced the time it takes to fall asleep by half, and sleep time increased by almost an hour and rid the body of cortisol, the stress hormone
- You will look younger – Stanford also found increased circulation through exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to skin cells more effectively and creates an ideal environment to optimize collagen production
- You can boost your internal systems – experts from Bristol University discovered cycling helps decrease the time it takes food to move through the body and accelerates breathing and heart rate.
- You will increase your brain power – Researchers from Illinois University found that a ﬁve percent improvement in cardio-respiratory ﬁtness from cycling led to an improvement of up to 15 percent in mental tests and helps ward off Alzheimer’s.
- You can thwart illness – St George’s Hospital in London showed immune cells become more active and are ready to ﬁght off infection and research from the University of North Carolina showed people who cycle for 30 minutes, ﬁve days a week take about half as many sick days as couch potatoes.
- You just might live longer – King’s College London compared over 2,400 identical twins and found those who did the equivalent of just three 45-minute rides a week were nine years ‘biologically younger’ even after discounting other inﬂuences, such as body mass index (BMI) and smoking.
- You will be honoring Mother Earth – Twenty bicycles can be parked in the same space as one and on-going use of a bicycle has virtually NO carbon footprint.
- You can maintain or lose weight and get fit or keep in prime shape by burning more fat and calories – not only during a ride, but for several hours afterwards.
- You might just make creative breakthroughs. Writers, musicians, artists, top executives and other professionals use exercise to solve mental blocks and make decisions.
I thought of that while riding my bicycle.
~ Einstein in reference to the Theory of Relativity
There are many good reasons for bicycle commuting, recreational bicycling and creating a strong bike culture in general. Every day is a good day for encouraging and promoting bicycling and National Bike to Work Week is a great kick start to biking season. The toughest part is just getting out the door and on your bike, after that, it’s just a matter of pedaling.
Here are a few links where you can find some additional information
OK – if you are not going to Bike to Work next week, maybe a Saturday and Sunday afternoon ride with the family is a better option for you.
AND if that doesn’t work for you either, here are the TOP 5 -SMART PHONE CYCLING GAMES You can still take part in the event next week!
“Bicycles are almost as good as guitars for meeting girls”
~Bob Weir, Grateful Dead