“It is curious that with the advent of the automobile and the airplane, the bicycle is still with us. Perhaps people like the world they can see from a bike, or the air they breathe when they’re out on a bike. Or they like the bicycle’s simplicity and the precision with which it is made. Or because they like the feeling of being able to hurtle through air one minute, and saunter through a park the next, without leaving behind clouds of choking exhaust, without leaving behind so much as a footstep.”
~Gurdon S. Leete
May is National Bike Month.
Burlington is a community that appreciates “alternative” transportation. In reality, we wish that fossil-fuel driven vehicles were considered the “alternative” but for now, we’ll take what we can get! And, what we have now is a plethora of people advocating for better infrastructure to support non-fossil-fuel dependent transportation and mass transit options.
One of the efforts within our community in May is Way to Go Week from May 17th – 21st. In it’s seventh year, the annual Way to Go program encourages folks to walk, ride, car pool or take mass transit to work or school for the week to experience the difference that earth-friendly transportation can make on their health and the environment. The number of participants continues to grow each year and it’s a great tool for demonstrating the need and desire of the community to have more funds funneled into programs that support creation and maintenance of sidewalks, bike paths, bike lanes, and incentives for healthier transportation options. Multiple businesses offer coupons and incentives throughout the month and each participant who registers and tracks the miles they commute is eligible to win great prizes and awards. To make it more exciting, community members and businesses can form groups and enter challenges to compete with other groups or businesses. This makes it fun and interesting and, in my opinion, a group effort probably helps some people join in whereas they may have not done so as individuals. Best of all there is a “School Challenge” that lasts for three weeks of the month of May. Schools submit measurable reports of how sustainability was achieved or advocated for during the three weeks to become eligible to win cash prizes, which they can then use to launch healthy lifestyle initiatives for students.
Considering or new to cycle commuting?
Take a look at the Commuter Guide put out by Vermont’s Agency of Transportation. It has useful information on how to prepare for commuting, best practices for riding in traffic, and information on cycle maintenance.