With gas prices at an all time high and interstate traffic getting seemingly worse by the day, alternative transportation is becoming a more attractive option. This May there was a regional and national focus on one specific alternative method: biking. For some bikingis thought of as a mostly recreational activity, done in one’s spare time to release stress or help work up a sweat. For others, biking is a way of life, and a way to work.
Bike to Work Month this year brought together all types of cyclists in the Triangle for multiple events and workshops. All of these were “geared” to educate, excite, and motivate the local community towards alternative commuting through biking. Here in RTP we held a series of events to help promote biking to work and to promote biking in general.
Our first event was a safety lunch and learn held at the RTP HQ. Ken Kaye, a registered LCI (league cycling instructor) and RTP employee, educated participants about safe biking practices and safety gear necessary for the avid biker/bike commuter. Next we hosted an informal afterhour’s social at local restaurant Serena. We provided participants with free biking prizes and drink tickets. The annual “Ride of Silence” was the next day; this event is held simultaneously across the nation at the same time to commemorate fallen bikers and those who have been in cycling accidents. Typically the ride is 5-8 miles, done in silence and at low speeds. Riders were escorted by the Durham Police Department and local news agencies came out to support.
Later in the week, there was a special biking breakfast held at RTP HQ for riders. Bikers stopped by and picked up a complimentary breakfast. This was our way of saying “thank you” for biking to work that day. To finish off our RTP events we held our monthly RTP Food Truck Rodeo with a special emphasis on bike commuting. Everyone who biked to the event received special bike oriented prizes and were also eligible to get a discount on food trucks. The only catch to all these great, free events was that you had to bike to the event to receive the rewards.
Overall the events were a great success, with about 40-50 participants minimum per activity. These weren’t the only events being held for bike to work month. Each local municipality held their own events and rides, all to promote cycling and bike commuting in the Triangle.
It seems a lot of us get very attached to our cars and our daily schedules and rotations, often times not thinking about practical alternatives for our current lifestyles. This month showed us how with a little determination and dedication you can make a serious difference in your carbon foot print and your wallet. Biking is a great exercise and way to stay in shape. It is becoming more widely accessible to bike in the Triangle due to extended demand for bike lanes and green-ways and hopefully this trend will continue. Whether you biked or not to work during May, hopefully you can take others lead and realize that it isn’t as far-fetched of a option as it once was in the area, and more and more people everyday are realizing the positive effects from doing so.