When I heard about the Bike to Work Challenge last year, I thought it would be a great opportunity to increase my cycling. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to ride due to an accident. This year, however, I was ready. I set a goal for myself to ride to work every day of the contest in October, plus the Monday before it started (Sept. 30) and the Friday after it ended (Nov. 1) in order to make it five full weeks of biking to work.
I had to get creative about working the bike commute into my other obligations, such as a checkup at the dentist and stopping by the store to pick something up on the way home. With a little extra planning, I was able to get more done by bike then I had in the past. I also attended a safety class from the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. Even though I’ve been an avid cyclist for 40 years, I still learned a few new bicycle safety techniques that made the class well worth it.
I’m proud to report that I was able to complete my goal, and I finished in third place overall in the Bike to Work Challenge. There were a few days where I rode in the rain and a few cold days, but overall, I always arrived at work and then back home glad that I rode my bike and ready to head back out the next day.
Towards the end of the month, I found myself reflecting on all the benefits of riding to work. While many people wouldn’t consider biking my commute because they think it would take too long, I found the opposite to be true. My car commute is about 25 minutes each way, sometimes more with bad traffic. When I considered the fact that my bike trips doubled as both exercising and commuting, I was actually saving time overall in my daily schedule.
That’s not the only thing cycling has going for it. There are the health benefits of exercise, the reduced pollution, the more relaxed attitude of seeing all the wildlife along the greenway, and the cost savings on gas and maintenance. In just one month, I actually saved up more than enough money to pay for my new Android phone.
I'm looking forward to continuing to ride my bike to work and
participating in the Bike to Work Challenge next year. Sure, there are some
obstacles to riding to work, but there are a lot of benefits to be had, too. I'd
challenge anyone that is considering cycling to give it a try. Maybe you’ll
pass me on the road... I'll be the one with the big grin on my face.