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This morning commuters Australia-wide left the car at home and by-passed the bus or tram stop, deciding instead to participate in ‘National Ride to Work Day.’
Worldwide, bikes are becoming an increasingly popular means of transport to get from A to B with more bikes sold than cars, due to escalating petrol prices and heightened environmental awareness. Even I have joined in on the action. I bought a bike at the weekend, justifying the expense with ardent promises to leave the frustrations involved with public transport in the past and to pedal towards improved fitness and a bigger bank balance!
National Ride To Work Day is a non-profit event aimed at getting more people to ride to work more often. It encourages health, fitness and an awareness of the environment as well as creating and increasing bike commuter communities.
In 2008, 110,000 commuters participated with 3,710 workplaces taking part. There are loads of great reasons to give it a go. You can be part of a national event, look good and feel great, do your bit for the environment, reduce chances of obesity, heart disease and diabetes and save money.
If you’re interested in riding to work, Bicycle Victoria is on hand to help tell you everything you want to know. Once you’ve made up your mind to start riding, the next step is preparation. You’ll need a bike in good working order, clothes to ride in and a planned route to take you to work. And don’t forget to talk to regular riders in your workplace or neighbourhood. They’re your best source of information and support. They might even offer to be your ‘bike buddy’ on the day.
To get you started, here are some top tips from Bicycle Victoria –
1. Talk to someone who currently rides, and scope out the path you plan to ride. Drive the path, and look at it from a bike riders perspective to get comfortable.
2. Be prepared. Have a trial ride to your work on a weekend if you can. Make sure you don’t carry too much on the bike!
3. Take your work clothes in on an earlier day, even your lunch if possible. Have the necessary toiletries, towel etc at work too!
4. Make sure your bike and clothes are all ready packed the night before so there is less incentive to change your mind!
5. Ride one way to work on your first day. Get the train or bus home that night and also the next morning, riding home on the second day. Then, have a one day and continue like this until you build up to a full trip to work and back.
6. Calculate the money saved on public transport tickets, fuel, car wear-and-tear and the like. Add the quality-of-life benefits, like having your exercise built into your day, and getting to experience the streets, instead of watching them passively from inside a vehicle. Multiply by the convenience of no queues or traffic-jams, and by the extra level of endorphins flowing through you. Think of all these things, and it’s easy to get pedalling! A great cost-benefit equation.
Visit http://www.bv.com.au/ride-to-work/ for more information.