OK, so unlike last week's SNLC, 3CM doesn't have the privilege of diarying proceedings about a given a national (fill-in-the-blank) day until the day after the event (typical loser, that 3CM). However, as yesterday was National Bike to Work Day, no choice in that regard (although this diary about it appeared this past Wednesday). Depending on where one lives and works, of course, biking isn't necessarily a commuting option for many people. But if you can do it, with a reasonbly safe pathway to work where the car drivers are somewhat rational and respectful of bikers, it's a nice way to get exercise, as well as mitigate one's transportation carbon footprint. More below the flip....
One local group, , had its list of bike stations where one could enjoy a bagel, coffee, banana, and/or orange juice (not all at the same time, of course) on the way to work. A few folks were at the bike station where I stopped to 'refuel', even though I did have a bowl of cereal before I started biking. There was a hint of potential rain in the clouds that suddenly crept in while on the way to work. However, I was OK getting there, and while there was a small bit of rain while inside at work, it was pretty much mid-morning by the time it was done. Some very mild vestigal sprinkles on the way home, but not much to worry about.
I didn't find a single National Bike to Work Day page as such from teh internets, although a myriad of locally-based pages abound, such as the Trailnet page. In searching for general info about how many Americans bike to work, I did find this page from the League of American Bicyclists (LAB for convenience), regarding their sponsorship of May as National Bike Month. From that page, you can access this page trumpets the increase in bicycle commuting during the 1st decade of the 21st century (emphasis theirs):
"The National Household Travel Survey showed that the number of trips made by bicycle in the U.S. more than doubled from 1.7 billion in 2001 to 4 billion in 2009."BTW, they also say at the end, as a disclaimer:
"Remember, these numbers are based on surveys of a sample of the population so they're just estimates - sometimes with large margins of error. Some changes may not be statistically significant. They're just bike commuter estimates; lots of people who ride bikes are not counted here."(This blog post from the LAB's Carolyn Szczepanski pretty much recycles the above article, albeit w/o the disclaimer.)
I checked the local numbers off the link in the post. STL ranks 56th out of the top 70 cities here, in terms of "bicycling rank", with a somewhat dispiriting trend of statistics in terms of increase in biking ridership, as you shrink the time frame:
1990 -> 2011: +20%
2000 -> 2011: -8%
2005 -> 2011: (N/A)
2010 -> 2011: -65%
Given that I don't see very many commuter bikers here, I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised, not that I've been all around the city to do the research. At work, very, very few bikes are present at the bike rack, which isn't a surprise given that many co-workers live quite far away, a good portion of them across the river. This fits well with a stat given off this page at chiff.com (emphasis mine):
"Worldwide, those [who] bike to work each day include the Dutch who top the list at 30 percent, followed by Japan at 15 percent and the USA trailing behind at less than 2 percent.
There's also this bit:
"According to Bicycling magazine, more than half of all Americans live less than 5-10 miles from work, a trip that usually can be accomplished in under an hour."What that one-liner admittedly doesn't address is the nature of the distance between work and home, i.e. whether it's all highway with no nearby biker-friendly routes or something like that. Plus, if the weather is bad, or I have somewhere to go after work, I'll drive. The harsh fact is that I still have a car, so that the gas that's in the tank will ultimately get combusted, even though each time I bike to work, it stretches out that time for using up the tank. Also, each biker means one less car on the road, so for the rest (majority) who do drive, it's very incrementally that much less of a hindrance to travel, at least in the abstract. In these senses, biking is not completely about saving the planet, but rather us killing the planet more slowly. Hence my use of the word "mitigate" rather than "eliminate", regarding carbon footprint, pre-flip.
So ultimately, as I have both a bike and a car, it's nice to bike on days when it's convenient in terms of scheduling, not to mention weather. At least both options are on hand. So if you bike to work, or elsewhere for things besides exercise, yesterday was your day. But then as the chiff.com page notes:
".....the sad fact is that bike sharing programs and bike routes are woefully underfunded or non-existent in many areas. And, until the infrastructure is in place to support everyone who wants to bike to work, there will always be a National Bike to Work Day!"With that, time for the usual SNLC protocol, namely your loser stories of the week, which may or may not involving bicycles or biking......