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.
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!