Growing up in Sweden, seeing people bike to work was normal. It was just another form of transportation (along with busses, subway trains, and cars).
My mom had a child seat on her bike so she could take whoever was the smallest in the bunch to daycare. Taking the car to school or work wasn’t even a concept. The car was for longer trips, transporting my brother’s double bass, and the weekly grocery run (you need a lot of food for seven people).
When I moved to the States, I was surprised to learn that nobody walked or biked to get from point A to point B. It was only for exercise. In fact, people drove their cars to the gym! Of course, this is not the fault of the people, but automobile-focused city planning.
When I lived in Nashville, my commute to work was only two miles, but in order to get there, I had to travel through an insanely busy intersection (including I-65). Biking was suicidal.
In Wisconsin, there were finally some decent bike lanes and more awareness of biking as commuting. Still, I only biked maybe once a week to work (and only in warm weather). It was six miles one way, and I felt a little worried about being so far away from my daughter’s school with just a bike to take me places. (Yes, I know, justification…). Also, there was no good way to freshen up after that commute (aside from a good old-fashioned spot cleaning).
Then I moved to lovely Decorah and now my commute is either taking the steps up to my second floor office or 200 miles. So biking to work is not so much in the picture.
However, this morning, I biked to the gym and on my way back I saw ample evidence of Bike to Work Week:
- Mother and son walking their bikes across the street at the elementary school
- Dad and two kids crossing the street in front of impatient drivers
- A helmet-clad banker in a grey suit with his right pant leg tucked into his black sock (my favorite!)
In Decorah, there are also lots of cool incentives for riding your bike this week.
Here’s an awesome one from Facebook:
Find out if your town has a Bike to Work Week or Bike to Work Day. And if not, consider organizing one!
I’m off to my other office (aka Java John’s) to meet with a new friend about wellness coaching. I think I’ll take my bike.
Over to You!
Do you bike to work? If not, what are the challenges you face?
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