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Bike to work week

Within the cycling community Bike To Work Week generates quite a bit of buzz. There are all sorts of promos, events, competitions, and celebrations centered around the simple act of riding a bicycle for basic transportation. While I obviously support the notion of biking to work, errand-running, and pleasure, I can’t seem to drum up much enthusiasm for participating in the official Bike To Work Week extravaganzas. Sure, I’ll be biking to work, and I’m even going to take a Scientific Wild Assed Guess at my mileage so that I can contribute to the Earthriders’ team effort in the Bike To Work mileage competition, but that’s about as far as I go with it.

I have kind of a hard time getting real rah-rah about it because to me, cycling for transportation is the opposite of a big deal. It’s just how I roll. I ride to work, to run my errands, to go to parties, for the sheer hell of it. It’s the transportation option that works best for me. I’m not a big evangelist (though I could probably give you a half-hour talk on why biking is AWESOME). For me, riding my bike to work is about as exotic as driving is for most of my co-workers. It’s the same round of streets day in and day out. Sure the weather changes, sometimes something odd happens, or I take some side-streets to spice up the routine, but basically it’s about getting from point A to point B in the most straightforward and safe way as possible.

For me, biking isn’t a big political or moral choice. I don’t strictly do it for fitness, fashion, to stick it to Big Oil, to be eccentric, to Save The World, or to save money. I ride a bike because I like riding a bike. I’m no great shakes of a driver, and right now my car is completely disassembled in Nebraska awaiting a paint job. It beats waiting for the bus and being bound to routes and schedules and being stuck with the other passengers’ B.O. and noisiness. I got started as a bike commuter in college, when it seemed completely ludicrous to bother firing up the car to go anywhere in a town which wasn’t much more than 20 blocks square. I kept on because it’s kind of fun, it’s generally convenient, and yeah, it does save me quite a bit of money in the long run.

So Bike-To-Work-Week will come and go. Many biking bloggers will probably blog their way through the week, tracking how many miles they ride each day, how fast they rode, what their peak heart rate was, how much elevation they gained and lost, and how often they farted. More power to them. Chances are that I’ll write in my usual rambling, sporadic fashion. I may write about my commute if anything worthwhile happens, but I probably won’t since it’s pretty routine stuff.

If you are a cyclist who doesn’t commute but could, I encourage you to consider participating in Bike To Work Week in your own way and capacity. I’m not one of those zealots who thinks that everybody MUST bike everywhere, but figure “what the heck” if it’s officially Bike To Work Week, it’s a good excuse to ride your bike. Even if you’re a crank like me who is too contrary to really get behind the whole hurrah.

2 Responses to “Bike to work week”

  1. wipeout says:

    Oh, right – Bike to Work Week. We have that here too, I think, though I never pay attention to when it is. I sometimes wonder if anyone other than people who always bike to work take part. I feel similar to you – *every* week is bike to work week! (Except for when there’s heavy snow and ice, in my case.)

    I feel like if I cram myself on some transit, that time belongs to work, but if I bike, that time belongs to me. It reclaims some of my day for myself.

    After living here for ten years, I have noticed that more people bike to work in general now than they did when I first moved here. It makes me happy to see all sorts of people, in all sorts of dress, on all sorts of bicycles.

  2. Gwen says:

    I’m in the same boat – or maybe, on the same bike.

    I don’t have a driver’s license at all, and I love biking. It’s always been my preferred mode of getting around, for lots of different reasons.

    I lived in Holland for a couple years, where I felt more liberated – in short, more LIKE AN ADULT – than ever before. NOT like a second-class citizen.

    It was hard to get back on a bike when I returned to the US, because cycling here is so sucky different. I still ride like I’m entitled to make a (legal and properly-signalled) left turn. And it’s strange to be in a place where cycling itself is considered strange, or novel, or somehow ‘cute’.

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