Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Bike To Work Day

So, this past Wednesday was Bike To Work Day, and I rode my bike (get this) to work!

Now, I ride my bike to work pretty frequently, though not as much as I should. It's only a 9 mile trip, one way, on mostly neighborhood streets. Lots of STOP signs and busy road crossings, but actually a pretty pleasant ride around 6:00 AM. , and takes about a half hour in each direction. So, basically, it was just a coincidence that I rode on the designated day.

As I rode in, I noticed quite a few more bike commuters than usual. That's to be expected. Many people ride their bike to work on Bike To Work Day, even though they never ride it, otherwise. And, that's my gripe with BTWD.

By making such a big deal of riding in (free T-shirts, food stops, etc.), the BTWD organizers reinforce the idea that most of the population has about bicycle commuting. That is, bike commuting is an Adventure...A Big Deal...Out Of The Ordinary! They ride their bike in on this one day, eat their cream cheese on a bagel at the breakfast stop, and ride home in their new BTWD T-shirt feeling all warm and toasty about being a "bicycle commuter". Then, they go back to their automobile commute and never even consider riding in to work until the next year's BTWD.

I propose that we abolish Bike To Work Day, and replace it with "Don't Bike To Work Day". Maybe then, these people will commute on their bike every day, and the "Big Adventure" will be to drive a car in to work on one day out of the year.

Yeah, right.

It amazes me that as a society, we respond to higher gas prices by trying to figure out how to get more money for gas (pawn shops in Denver have reported a surge in business as people trade in their possessions for gas money) rather than by trying to figure out how to use less gas. It's so simple: Drive less and you will spend less money on gas!

I bought my shack of a house, rather than a nicer suburban model for the same price, just because of the neighborhood. I am within 2 miles of theaters, grocery stores, coffee shops, bike shops, you name it. I was within a mile and half of work until they moved us to a new location this year. I bike for most of my errands (hell, I could walk if I wanted to), and just use the truck if I have to carry something big and heavy, or deal with really inclement weather.

I do cheat and ride the motorcycle to work, quite a bit, simply because I'm lazy and like the Vroom-Vroom sounds my motorbikes make. Still, I use little enough gas that the recent price increases haven't really affected my way of life. I use the motor vehicles the way that most people I know use their bikes; as recreation and emergency transport. And I use my bicycles as my primary transport.

My Commuter Fleet in front of World Headquarters

So, let's make the last Wednesday in January National Don't Bike To Work Day, and just have bicycle commuting become the norm.


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