When was the last time you were on a bike? May 15th could be a good day to go for a ride! National Bike to Work Day is recognized every May in celebration of National Bike Month. The goal is to encourage biking to work for fitness, protecting the environment, and fun!
Bike to Work Facts
According to the League of American Bicyclists, half of all Americans live within 5 miles of their place of employment, but only a small percentage bikes to work. Between 2008 and 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau recorded the number of bicycle commuters in the 50 largest American cities. The top 10 cities with the percentages of bike commuters include:
|5||San Francisco, CA||3.8|
|10||New Orleans, LA||2.4|
See where your city and state stacks up by checking out the link below:
American Community Survey Reports: Modes Less Traveled
Health Benefits of Biking to Work
- The Centers for Disease Control recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity per week (biking is one of many activities you can try!). Physical activity is important for good health as it may reduce your risk of chronic disease, help with weight management, strengthen bones, increase stamina, reduce stress, and improve energy and sleep.
- Biking to work will not only get you to work, but can add physical activity to your day without impacting your schedule too much! In fact, a 2009 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that actively commuting to work by biking or walking resulted in lower blood pressure, triglycerides, BMI and glucose in men, and overall improvement in fitness for both men and women.
- The League of American Bicyclists found that those who bike to work may experience lower levels of stress and increased feelings of freedom and relaxation in comparison to those who commute by car.
- Since biking is an aerobic exercise that promotes oxygen intake, you may experience increased levels of productivity and creativity from improvement in blood circulation and the release of brain-pleasing neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.
Additional Benefits of Biking
- You could save money on gas and reduce your time spent sitting in traffic
- Driving less could help you reduce the wear and tear on your car
- Biking instead of driving allows you to help the environment by lowering your carbon footprint
- If you’d prefer not to be cooped up in a car or on public transit, biking to work could make your commute more enjoyable
Considering Biking to Work May 15th?
- The first step to beginning any new fitness routine is to check with your doctor to ensure the activity is right for you.
- Check your distance. Know the mileage of your trip and consider whether or not it is doable, especially if it has been awhile since your last bike ride.
- Make sure your bike is in working order. Get a professional tune-up if your bike has been out of commission for a while.
- Inspect your tires, gear, chain, reflectors and lights prior to your ride.
- Build yourself up. Practice riding around your neighborhood leading up to May 15th to make sure you’re in shape for the ride to work.
- Dress appropriately. Keep an eye on the weather. Choose clothes adequate for the conditions. Wear bright clothing or a safety vest to ensure you will be visible to others.
- Select comfortable sneakers and tie them to prevent the laces from being caught in the bike chain.
- Wear a helmet. Helmets save lives. Protect your head!
- Get good eyewear. Keep the sun, rain, wind, debris and insects out of your eyes by wearing sunglasses or protective goggles.
- Ensure any bags you carry do not have straps or ties that can become caught in the bike’s wheels or chain. If you are carrying a bag directly on your back, be sure it isn’t too heavy.
- Familiarize yourself with laws and traffic regulations in your area, especially those specific to bikers.
- Know your route. Prior to leaving, decide how you will travel to work, which roads to take, where the largest shoulders or lanes are, or if there is a bike path.
- Share your route with your spouse, a family member, friend or co-worker. Having someone know where you travel is necessary for safety and helpful for any unforeseen situations.
- Stay hydrated. Drink water before you start your trip and always have water with you.
For Health Advocate Members
Are you interested in biking for fitness but unsure of where to begin? If you are a Health Advocate member with access to our Wellness Program, connect with a Wellness Coach for additional cycling information, or other fitness tips.
For more information:
If you’re looking to learn more about biking to work or for fitness, these resources can help:
American College of Sports Medicine – Getting Started with Cycling
The League of American Bicyclists
JAMA Internal Medicine – Active Commuting and Cardiovascular Disease Risk