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Hide the Keys: It’s National Bike to Work Week
Grand Rapids (May 12, 2011) – It’s not a coincidence that as gasoline prices rise to budget-breaking levels, more people are buying bicycles. Riding a bike to run short errands and commute to work saves money – potentially enough to take the family out to dinner or to help pay the electric bill. Never tried riding to work? May 16—20 is National Bike to Work Week, intended to encourage people to use bicycles as transportation and also celebrate those who already do. "Biking to work is an efficient and fun way to get the exercise you need, without having to find extra time to work out. And this year, with gasoline prices as high as they are, biking to work makes more sense than ever, " said Rep. Harvey Santana (D-Detroit). He introduced House Resolution 77 deeming May 2011 as Bike Month in Michigan. New bicycle sales rose 9% in the first quarter compared to a year ago, according to Scott Jaeger, senior retail analyst with Leisure Trends Group, a Boulder, Colo.-based retail tracking firm, and as reported in USA Today, May 9. Locally, bicycle sales have also been robust. “We’re up from last year, but I’m not sure what percentage,” Evert Klomp Jr, owner of Chicago DriveKentwood Cycling and Fitness, said. “We’re selling a lot of hybrids. Also, this year because of the gas prices, more and more people are coming in with their old Schwinns and old Fujis to get fixed.” Mayor George Heartwell will ride his bike, May 18 to City Hall and to appointments that day in support of Bike to Work Week. He will depart from the corner of Fulton St. and Gay Ave. SE at 7:10 a.m.
and arrive about 15 min. later at 300 Monroe Ave. NW, City Hall’s Monroe Avenue entrance.
He will also be leading Third Annual Mayor’s Bike Ride, May 17, 6 p.m. from 1700 Butterworth Dr. SW. The family ride along the Grand River is on a paved trail. It leads to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6:30 for the Oxford Street Trail, which is near the Chestnut Street Bridge. Details are at bikegrandrapids.org. The Mayor’s Office and the Greater Grand Rapids Bicycling Coalition are co-sponsoring Tuesday’s event. Both groups encourage area residents to wear a helmet and bike to work at least one day next week. The GGRBC is a non-profit organization that works on behalf of local cyclists to change Grand Rapids into a safer, more cycling friendly community. The group recently hosted the Grand Rapids Bicycle Summit. -More-
Tips For Safe Bicycle Commuting
• Bicyclists must ride with traffic (not against) and obey all traffic laws, stop signs and traffic lights. • Motorists should only pass a bicycle when it's safe to do so. Slow down and give bicyclists at least 5 ft. of passing room. • Bicyclists should ride in the right-most lane that takes them in the direction they are headed. • State law requires bicycles have lights at night. • Common sense dictates that cyclists wear helmets and be visible.
Benefits of Commuting to Work by Bicycle • • • • • Bicycle commuting is a great way to squeeze regular exercise into a hectic schedule. Commuting time can be used to stay in shape instead of sitting frustrated in traffic. Bicycle commuters get to work on time more often and are happier and more productive. 80% of people who switch from sedentary commuting to cycling improve their heart, lungs, and blood vessels greatly in 6-8 weeks. For a 180 pound man, a 10-mile round trip bike commute burns 400 calories. For a 130-pound woman this same commute burns 300 calories. Medical research has well established the fact that a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity three days a week can reduce incidents of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, and improve mental health. Employers in the community benefit from a healthy, active workforce. Bicycle commuting saves on parking fees, parking tickets, fuel costs, auto maintenance costs, and transit fares. In some large urban areas, it is possible to save over $200 per month on parking alone. A new bicycle and cycling gear would pay for itself in a few months. Autos are the single largest source of U.S. air pollution. Short trips are up to three times more polluting per mile than long trips. When bicycling is substituted for short auto trips, 3.6 pounds of pollutants per mile are not emitted into the atmosphere. Ten bikes can park in the space used by a single motor vehicle. --Courtesy of League of American Bicyclists ###
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