Bike To Everywhere Decade

Next week is Bike to Work Week in Springfield.

Or, just another week.

You see, I’m participating in, and about to complete, Bike to Everywhere Decade.

I seriously do not mean to criticize Bike to Work Week or brag about what I do. It’s a good program. But I do have a minor gripe that’s really about what I see as a subtle and unintended message of such events: Riding a bicycle to work requires a special week to promote it because ______. You may fill in the blank with whatever reasons you may have for not using a bicycle as basic transportation.

Given a reasonable set of circumstances,* bicycling for basic transportation is neither difficult nor dangerous. If it were either one of those things, I wouldn’t be doing it.

I have nothing to brag about because bicycling for basic transportation is neither difficult nor dangerous.

A week-long special event is fine. But what happens at the end of the week? I contend it takes a little more than that to figure out that bicycling for basic transportation is actually rather easy in Springfield. I make that claim based on my own experience. I made it a goal to ride a bicycle as much as possible when I moved here from Kansas City almost a decade ago. I assumed there would be many days that I would choose to drive a motor vehicle instead. But the more I rode a bicycle the more I realized how often I actually do not need a car.

The goal of Bike to Work Week should be making it to the following Monday. Why not push for a second week? Then a third? Pretty soon you may be participating in Bike to Everywhere Decade.

*I live in Springfield’s urban core. I live close to work, shopping, and entertainment. I chose to live in the urban core precisely because it would make using a bicycle for basic transportation easier. Your choice of where to live does affect your choice of transportation. Those two things — housing and transportation — ought to be thought of together. If your living circumstances make bicycle commuting difficult, you may wish to try the 1-Mile Solution instead.

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Comments 8

  1. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Excellent points, Andy. That other curmudgeon, Ian Brett Cooper, has said similar stuff and so have I, to wit, that there is something a little uncomfortable both of us have with Bike Month or Bike to Work Week, i.e., what about the rest of the year. These events, like Earth Day, often do not translate into life changing experiences but instead are festivals for those who otherwise are too lazy to do much about the earth or about human powered transportation. Or as Ian says, “National Motorist Ride Your Bike To Work Day”

    Likewise on transportation and housing being two sides of the same coin. Once locked into a 20 mile commute, as my stepdad did when we moved out to Alden and he worked at the Chevy plant, one’s choices are limited. We need two things (well, at least two things, as I get into a Monty Python skit–maybe three…). One, smart planning that attracts people to live close to their destinations. Two, some way of retrofitting better connectivity out to the suburbs we have built in the last half century. As someone recently complained on the tandem@hobbes list, it should not come as a surprise to Amtrack and other mass movers of people when people want to bring their bicycle onto a train and engage in chained multimodal trips.

    Posted 07 May 2013 at 12:22 pm
  2. Michael wrote:

    It’s bike to work something or other in Seattle right now and I’m complety digging it because it got me a 10% discount on a brand new Masi CX. 😉

    Posted 07 May 2013 at 12:42 pm
  3. Steve A wrote:

    Unable to bike to work…

    Posted 07 May 2013 at 2:45 pm
  4. hokan wrote:

    Related: I once was at a cafe that offered a treat to customers who would agree to switch from motoring to biking or walking for at least one trip each day for a week. As I was already biking or walking for all my planned trips that week, I couldn’t switch, and I couldn’t qualify for the treat.

    Posted 07 May 2013 at 3:16 pm
  5. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Retirement must be nice, Steve!

    Posted 07 May 2013 at 4:07 pm
  6. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    The one good thing I have to say about Motorist Bike to Work Day here in the DC suburbs – they give out free T-shirts. I aim to cycle downtown, grab one, then walk my commute in protest.

    Posted 07 May 2013 at 8:24 pm
  7. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    And I was just saying the other day, in response to some news article praising BtWD, that I’m still patiently waiting for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (the folks who lay on the free T-shirts) to make me a ‘Bike to Work Decade’ shirt. I need three of them now, as I’ve been cycling to work (on the occasions when I’ve had a real job) since 1980.

    Posted 07 May 2013 at 8:34 pm
  8. Andy Cline wrote:

    To all … I’m all for t-shirts. Who wants to design it? 🙂

    Posted 08 May 2013 at 6:25 am