Get Rolling: Bike Month & Go By Bike Week in May
With warm weather and longer days, May is perfect for biking. Aptly, it’s Bike Month, organized by the League of American Bicyclists. To celebrate locally, Go Rogue Valley is coordinating “Go by Bike Week” from May 14-20, which includes events, a bike commuting transit pledge and more. (Coincidentally, this is also American Craft Beer Week. We love both bikes and beer, and celebrating them together is even better!)
Rogue Valley residents who want to participate in Go by Bike Week can get tips and pledge to ride on the event website. If you’re out of the area, check out the Bike Month site to find events near you.
To help folks get started rolling or kick your biking commitment into a higher gear, we asked Nathan Broom, Transportation Options Planner at Rogue Valley Transportation District (part of Go Rogue Valley) to for motivation and biking tips.
What’s “Go By Bike Week” about?
Research indicates that the majority of people – about 60% – are interested in bicycling, but for various reasons, ride rarely or not at all. Well-designed roads and paths help, but so does encouragement – and that’s what Go By Bike Week is about. It’s an invitation to plan ahead, get prepared and go on two wheels for a week – for work, school, errands, fun and more. It just might stick.
What are the benefits of bike transportation?
The first benefit is the reason every kid gets on a bike in the first place: it’s fun! That’s true for adults, too. Money is another compelling reason for most of us. AAA says it costs 59.6 cents per mile to drive an average sedan. That’s nearly $16 for a round trip between Ashland OR and Medford, OR. Health is another strong reason. We can combat the destruction of sitting diseases just by changing the way we make some of our trips. I could go on about emissions, mental wellbeing, parking impacts, etc. but after a while, it all starts sounding too good to be true. It’s not!
What’s a good way to find bike routes?
Just paying attention is probably the best way, but there are some great tools, too. Google Maps has a button for directions specific to bicycling (as well as walking and public transit), and a layer showing bicycle facilities. Combining bike and bus is a great way to make longer commutes feasible. Drive Less Connect is a statewide tool that helps people connect with bike commute and carpool partners.
What tips do you have for getting started or increasing your commitment to biking?
Just pick a day and make it happen. Maybe it’s during Go By Bike Week. Maybe it’s the summer solstice. To increase your commitment, explore what you value about biking. If it’s financial savings, figure out how much you save per mile. Track your saving and promise yourself a reward at a certain point.
What are your top safety tips and how can people learn more about safe biking?
The best advice I’ve gotten comes from bicyclesafe.com. It focuses on the most common kinds of collisions between bikes and autos, and gives practical advice on avoiding those. In summary, it’s a good idea to wear a helmet, but it’s a great idea to take steps to avoid a collision in the first place.
Thanks, Nate! We hope this leaves our readers as inspired and ready as we are to pump up the pedal power. Happy biking!