‘Bike to Work Day’ also highlights bike-commuting problems

Today is Bike to Work Day (although by this time most people are probably home from work) — it’s a great idea, and I love that this year it’s predicted more people than ever will be participating. But for me, it’s a friendly reminder that my commute is so long and complicated that I can’t currently bike to work.

I live in Maryland and work in Virginia, a symptom of originally working in D.C., not being able to afford city living and living in the suburbs, and then getting a new job in Virginia. I live a little more than 20 miles away from my office, if I take the major highway to get there. Just driving that route takes an hour — Google Maps tells me biking would take at least two and a half hours and would be an extra four miles because I’d need to take a bike trail instead of the highway.

Commuting is a problem that many Americans face, especially when they work out in the suburbs. Sure, they can spare one day to try to ride their bikes to work, but some probably can’t even handle one day because their jobs are so far from their homes. In 2005, one survey said the average commuter had a 16-mile trip one way to work.

It’s tough for many people to embrace Bike to Work Day — or to embrace a lifestyle of bike commuting — because many cities and communities simply aren’t bikeable. As Ezra Klein said today when discussing going car-free, it’s all about the infrastructure — if a city doesn’t have an infrastructure that is conducive to people walking, biking, and using public transportation, then people’s only option is to drive.

So, although I love the idea of Bike to Work Day and hope lots of people took part, it simultaneously raises awareness about what we need to do structurally to make biking feasible. Increasing bus routes and bike racks on those buses so people can bus with their bike if they are too tired to ride, adding bike lanes and trails, and simply building cities and renovating cities so they are less car-centric are all good starts.


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2 Responses to “‘Bike to Work Day’ also highlights bike-commuting problems”

  1. alliumstozinnias Says:

    The ride to work may be too long, but the ride for many errands isn’t. Consider riding your bike for trips under two miles. Trek (the bike company) has a nice brochure called 1 World 2 Wheels that is a nice bit of encouragement. Here’s the link to the Web version of it: http://www.1world2wheels.org/ (And no, I don’t work for Trek)

  2. Dan Says:

    This is a silly thing to do. Bikes do not belong on roads. Unless you can take a sidewalk or park path all the way to your work you should NOT commute to work on a bike. Period.


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