Happy Bike Month! What are you doing to encourage more cycling?

May is National Bike Month, and few American cities get into it as much as Seattle. With a strong downtown employment center that cannot handle more private cars, biking to work is key for the city’s economic development.

But economics is not the only reason to bike to work. It is also a personally empowering experience. If you can get to work by bike, you can do nearly all your errands by bike. Bike commuting is like jumping in the deep end of the pool to learn to swim, and hundreds of people in Seattle take the leap every year.

If you haven’t already, sign up for the Group Health Commute Challenge, an annual competition to log bike-to-work trips during May. It’s also a good excuse to convince co-workers to join you (I have heard that bribing them with the promise of beer at the end of the month helps).

One big change for this year is the growing push for students to bike to school. Groups of parents and students promoting biking are taking off at schools all over the city, and all signs suggest this will be the biggest bike to school year in recent history (75 Bryant Elementary kids biked to school last Friday!). Cascade Bicycle Club has a version of the annual Commute Challenge for schools that lets kids log bike trips and win prizes.

Several schools are planning big bike-to-school events Friday. Walk.Bike.Schools has started a calendar to track events around the city, so be sure to let them know about activities at your school.

As for city-wide events, the annual Bike to Work Breakfast is Friday and features Congressman Earl Blumenauer. And be sure to note that Bike to Work Day is May 18.

What have I missed? What do you do to encourage friends, family and co-workers to cycle without being too preachy or pushy? Let us know in the comments!

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12 Responses to Happy Bike Month! What are you doing to encourage more cycling?

  1. Pingback: Happy Bike Month! What are you doing to encourage more cycling … | Bicycle News

  2. Devin says:

    This is so great. It makes me wish I still worked in the city. I miss riding from Capitol Hill to Downtown/Belltown and back. It was so easy, fast, and enjoyable. I now work in Bellevue and I was hit (massively) on my bike in Bellevue last summer and will never bike to/from work in here again. I’m too terrified. I’ll only ride in the city now….:(

    Good luck everyone and have fun!

    • jdg says:

      sorry to here that :(
      i was hit 4 times in the last two years in seattle proper. i do continue to ride, as should you! try just one day this month :)

    • Jessie K. says:

      I’m sorry to hear that, but I don’t blame you at all! I’d rather ride through the city than do my current suburban/industrial commute any day. I haven’t been hit either place, but the close calls I’ve had cycling in Seattle proper are minor irritations compared to the ones I’ve had in the outside the main urban areas.

      I still ride it, though, or at least I will again once I’m healed enough from my latest “suburban close call.”

      Happy Bike Month everyone!

  3. Rebecca says:

    Okay! Okay! I took the low road and baked cookies and reminded my co-workers that it’d be guilt free if they had ridden their bikes today.

  4. DrGeoduck says:

    What I do to encourage more cycling: I smile while cycling, and wave ‘thanks’ at cars when they yield for me.

    Message: cycling is fun, and cyclists are friendly.

    • Ted Quanstrom says:

      Nice. That is a good call. I try to do that too, and I also like to say hi to other cyclists when I pass or stop next to them. On the way home from work I took Dexter today and there was this huge line of people pedaling along, it was awesome.

  5. melinda says:

    I escorted my coworker home from work by bike, so she knows the way now! It was a lot of fun and I’d definitely like to do it for more people.

  6. Gary says:

    I organized a group buy of wool jerseys with the company logo on them. I’ve still got them on order so I can’t really show you them. But soon the streets around SLU will be flooded with them. When I started out I thought I’d get maybe 30 orders, in the end I’ve got 400. (mix of long and short sleeve jerseys.)

    I’ve harangued the bike riders at work to sign up. It sort of worked. We have about as many folks signed up who commute to just my building. And we have a bunch of buildings.

    I also got a co worker to ride, helped them with route finding. We have an internal wiki and I’ve put up maybe 10 suggested routes and encouraged others to list their routes from home to work so new employees can find a wealth of information from recommended bike shops, bikes, winter riding, rain gear etc.

    I think the thing that has helped the most is that the company has secure cages for the bikes, day use lockers, showers and towels. It makes a long ride possible and still be work ready in all weather conditions.

    Now if they would stop reimbursing people for parking and instead let them pay out of pocket the number of drivers would really drop.

  7. Todd says:

    I lead by example. If people get inspiration from me, for example, with my posts on Facebook and such — awesome. But I really am not in the business of trying to promote my lifestyle onto others.

  8. Kirk from Ballard says:

    I deceided to captain a Group Health Challenge team at work, and filled it up with 10 riders. We also established a new bike parking area in the building that starts tomorrow. It will be intereseting to see how many more people will ride based on this new amenity. We are also lucky to have locker rooms, showers, towels and on property dry cleaning and laundry.
    Today I noticed a TON of new bikers on the trail. This morning I showed a new biker the trick for getting off of the south end of the Ballard Bridge (you’ve got to signal!).
    There’s a lot of buzz around work that people want to start bike commuting. I really hope it just explodes this summer throughout Seattle.

  9. Pingback: Hundreds attend the largest ever Bike to Work Breakfast (+ video) | Seattle Bike Blog

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