May is Bike Month. Actually, every month is bike month in my opinion, but May is the month in which we try to raise awareness of just how awesome the bicycle is for transportation, recreation, and life in general. The highlight of bike month for many folks is Bike to Work Day (BTWD), held in the bay area on Thursday, May 13th.
I’ve been riding a bike since 1999. Since that time, I commuted to/from work in the financial district of San Francisco (23 miles each way), commuted to school in Los Altos (22 miles each way), and commuted to my job at a bike shop (3 miles each way). I also lived car-free for two years from 2001 – 2003. I’ve worked at home full-time since 2006 and each year on BTWD I feel just a little left out that I can’t bike to the office (unless I really wanted to ride from my bedroom to my home office).
As I’ve been thinking about my role in the cycling community in relationship to BTWD, I realized that my goal is to encourage other women to consider bicycling as a viable, safe, efficient, and fun means of transportation. So, I’ve given myself the challenge this month — go car-free for the entire month of May! There will definitely be challenges (like travelling to races or clinics). And I’ll do my best not to avoid trips because I’m not going to drive there (something I found I did while I was living car-free).
I’ve had a “five mile” rule for as long as I can remember. If a trip is five miles or less, I don’t take my car unless absolutely necessary (carrying large loads, car wash, oil change, etc). I’m pretty good about it, but lately I’ve found myself rationalizing use of the car by bundling my errands or having a tight schedule.
So, for the month of May:
I plan to log my daily transportation activity to share with others.
I also plan to share bike commuting tips + tricks via my blog and the Velo Girls yahoogroup.
I also challenge Velo Girls members (and others) to join our team (aptly named “Velo Girls”) in the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition’s Team Bike Challenge. Go ahead, sign up, and challenge yourself to ride instead of driving. You can do it! It may take a little more planning and a little more time, but you’ll contribute to a greener environment, save money, and earn a great sense of accomplishment.