bike month - biking

Embracing Bike Month for a Greener Tomorrow

bike month - biking

Every May, people all over the country celebrate Bike Month – a kickoff to biking season and a reminder to everyone biking is a healthy way to get around that’s not only good for you, but for the planet, too! Later in the month is “bike to work week”, encouraging people to forego cars and public transportation on their commute. 

Whether you’re an avid cyclist already, but you’ve never heard of Bike Month, or you’ve been trying to think of ways you can live more sustainably, this is an easy, fun and effective way to do it. 

Let’s cover some of the environmental benefits of making the switch from driving to biking throughout the month of May and beyond. We’ll also give tips on how you can incorporate riding a bike into your daily routine, no matter your career or how busy you are. 

How Cycling Helps the Planet

Transportation emissions in the United States account for 27% of all carbon emissions in the country. This includes every morning commute, every ride to the grocery store and back, as well as every drive to see a movie on the weekend. While some trips might require a car, if you’re traveling a long distance or need to haul items, think about how many shorter trips you could be taking on a bike. 

By choosing to bike just once a day, instead of taking a car, you can reduce your personal carbon footprint from transportation by 67%. Cycling even produces fewer emissions than electric vehicles, so it’s essential to the environment as many people as possible take advantage of Bike Month. It’ll also help you understand how easy it is to make cycling a part of your routine. 

Still not convinced? In addition to a lower carbon footprint, biking can also help to clean the air. Vehicles release harmful particles, chemicals and exhaust into the air. Air pollution is a huge problem for our planet, contributing to issues like: 

  • Global warming;
  • Acid rain;
  • Ozone depletion;
  • Wildlife hazards.

Additionally, air pollution can lead to respiratory issues, cancer and skin diseases in humans. Reducing fossil fuels, and cleaning up the air by riding your bike as often as possible, will help to create a cleaner, brighter tomorrow for the next generation. 

Personal Health Benefits

While biking is great for the environment, there are also countless personal benefits you’ll enjoy by swapping your gas pedal for a bike pedal each day. Some of the biggest health benefits associated with cycling include: 

  • Better cardiovascular health;
  • Increased muscle strength;
  • Stronger bones;
  • Decreased body fat;
  • Improved joint mobility.

Biking can even help to improve your mental health. You’ll get a boost of endorphins from being physically active and spending time outside, making it easier to manage issues like anxiety or depression.

If you’re newer to biking, however, make sure you’re safe about your adventures. For example, biking is a great form of exercise, but it can also cause you to dehydrate quickly. Signs you need to hydrate include feeling fatigued, light-headed, dizzy or developing a headache. Drink plenty of water and electrolytes before, during and after biking. Avoid “hydrating” with things like coffee, energy drinks or soda, which can actually do more harm than good. 

Cycling can inspire you to lead a healthier lifestyle, overall. It can motivate you to take a look at what you eat and how it’s produced, which can also impact the environment, as well as other choices you’re making for your mind, body and future. In choosing to take better care of yourself, you’ll quickly see how your personal wellness can also benefit the planet. 

Incorporating Biking Into Your Routine

The easiest way to incorporate biking into your routine this month is to think about any short trips you take on a daily or weekly basis. Ideally, you can swap your car for a bike as you commute to work. The average commute time in the U.S. is just over 26 minutes by vehicle. But, you have to factor in things like traffic, accessibility and more. If you choose to take a bike instead of drive, you might still be able to make it to work in that time, or less, because you don’t have to worry about morning traffic jams. 

If you work too far away to take a bike, consider riding to the nearest public transportation stop. Most have bike racks, and if you invest in a good padlock, you can keep your bike safe while you’re away. Some public transportation services might even let you carry your bike on board with you. 

Taking Full advantage of biking

Cycling to work is just the beginning if you want to take full advantage of the benefits of biking. Explore local parks and bike trails on the weekends. Consider joining a cycling club with others who have the same interests. You might even think about centering a vacation around biking, if there are specific trails you want to tackle somewhere away from home. 

If you do decide to bikepack, be safe by understanding some basic first aid. Even the most experienced bikers fall sometimes. Knowing how to stop a bleeding wound with a tourniquet or bandage can make a big difference, whether you’re on the trail or the road. 

While Bike Month is a fantastic way to introduce cycling into your routine, it’s important to recognize how much of a difference it can make in your personal life and the well-being of the planet. So, start pedaling this month and enjoy a greener tomorrow. 

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