9 Reasons to Ride Your Bike to Work This Friday
Including a special pau hana to meet other cyclists.
Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Bicycling League
In case you hadn’t heard, May is National Bike Month. It’s great timing for Honolulu bike riders, who happen to have a perfect reason to celebrate: the new King Street cycle track. The dedicated lane has made cycling around town a much easier and more relaxed affair since its opening this past December, and it’s now being brought up to full functionality, with traffic lights and lane markings for ‘Ewa-bound traffic.
1. Free Coffee and Snacks
If you haven’t had a chance to try out the new cycle track, this Friday is a good excuse to give it a first spin—the Hawai‘i Bicycling League is promoting May 15 as Bike to Work Day. HBL volunteers will be at Thomas Square Park and at the Neal Blaisdell Park in ‘Aiea from 7 to 9 a.m., handing out coffee and snacks to give some pep to anyone pedaling into their job.
2. Bike Month Pau Hana
And then, if you’re interested in meeting other like-minded cyclists, check out the Bike Month Pau Hana, on the same day, 5 to 8 p.m. at Kaka‘ako Agora. There’ll be bicycle movies projected onto the wall, great music, and food and drinks for a small donation, not to mention a presentation from Annika and Roberto, two cyclists pedaling around the world.
If that’s still not enough to get you out of your car and onto a bike, here’s a list of seven more reasons to cycle, courtesy of My City Bikes:
3. Save Money
A 2012 Forbes magazine article reported that, "the average annual operating cost of a bicycle is $308, compared to $8,220 for the average car." Even for someone just getting started and purchasing all the equipment they need, they'll still save thousands on biking instead of driving alone. You'll save even more when you can cancel your gym membership since you'll be getting daily exercise going to and from work.
4. Double Time
Getting two things done at once hardly ever results in them both getting done well. Bike commuting is an exception. By commuting on two wheels instead of four, riders will arrive at their destination while getting an effective cardiovascular and strength-building workout.
5. Make Your Kids Smarter
Bike to Work Week isn't just for grown-ups. Kids can bike to work, too. It's called biking to school and it has just as many benefits for children as it does adults. A study at Aarhus University in Denmark found that kids who use active transportation like biking to get to school improve their ability to concentrate in the classroom even more than their diet.
6. Spare the Air
The Union of Concerned Scientists reports that, "transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in the United States." The cocktail of toxic fumes that come out of our cars includes particulate matter, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, benzene and more. Biking not only saves about a pound of air pollution per mile, but the people riding bikes, even on the road, inhale as much as 60 percent less air pollutants than those who drive to work.
7. Get Sick Less
The average U.S. worker takes 4.9 sick days per year. Dutch economic think tank TNO found that employees who biked to work took an average of 1 less sick day per year than their non-cycling counterparts. As it turns out, a bike ride a day keeps the doctor away.
8. Stress Less
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety the reported incidents of "aggressive driving" have increased by about 7 percent each year since 1990, but people who bike to work have a different experience. "By contrast, studies comparing the experiences of commuting by bicycle and car report that cyclists find their mode of transport at least as flexible and convenient as those who use cars, with lower stress and greater feelings of freedom, relaxation and excitement," reports the New Economics Foundation.
9. Get More Done
Biking to work improves focus and productivity. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that regular exercise not only improves muscle condition and fitness, but that of the brain as well. According to the federal Department of Health and Human Services pre-work exercise like bike commuting has been shown to increase employee work performance by as much as 52 percent.