This week in May many cities celebrate cycling with a “bike to work day.” Here in Albuquerque it’s Friday May 19. I’m a believer in cycling everyday, and aligning a ride around work or school is a good way to get started. That’s how my cycling began 20 years ago in Reno, Nevada.
There are more benefits than we can imagine in cycling to work. We get to know our cities better. We see life from a new perspective. And we develop our cycling skills as we navigate through varied infrastructure to get to where we need to go. Cycling to work is a healthy habit.
The key is making cycling a routine. Transportation is a lifeway, just like eating. When we try changing with a short term fix, like going on a diet, it usually doesn’t stick. And cycling to work is going to be the same way. The idea is to make it a habit that becomes integral to your routine. We can celebrate cycling everyday! Bike to church. Bike to the store. Bike to open space.
The amazing thing about cycle commuting is how much you accomplish outside of the trip itself. First of all, cycling energize our lives. We arrive to work fresh, and if the weather was bad outside, actually relieved to be at our desk. Free shelter! Many employers reward cycle commuters with health bonuses, and you become an example for your colleagues. You boost morale and your enthusiasm is contagious. People are proud to work with you! And when you arrive home, you’re already refreshed and replenished with a happy and clear mind.
As a student of cycling, the bike commute is a masters course. It gets us on the bike twice a day. The preparation it takes commands concentration and mindfulness. And we get to practice our cycling skills without having to carve away free time. There’s an interview with our national hill climbing champion, Leroy Popowski, on the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado. They ask him what he does to get fit, and he responds that most of his training is riding to and from work with a backpack. He’s not kidding. You can look him up on Strava. Same route twice a day. That’s ten rides a week. Of course, then he goes off on the weekends and does more exploring. But the bike commute is the core for a joyful cycling life. I hope you seize the chance to begin this May!
Find out more at Albuquerque’s member-driven volunteer-run not-for-profit, BikeABQ:
Check out Santa Fe, New Mexico’s bike to work day events: https://www.biketoworksantafe.com
The League of American Cyclists bike to work month page: http://bikeleague.org/bikemonth