Let’s Get Biking!

Picture by Erin Gilmer, June 2006Spring is gorgeous, and a great time to get biking.  Bike share programs are taking off in some cities.  And here it’s Austin Bike Month.

Bike sharing is handy for biking to work, running errands, going shopping, sight seeing around the city, or visiting friends and family.  You don’t have to worry about finding a parking space and paying meters.  And even better, it’s a way to stay in shape, avoid traffic, and save gas!

Washington, D.C. already has a bike-share program called Capital Bikeshare allowing people to basically rent one of 1,100 bicycles from over 110 stations across Washington, D.C. and Arlington, VA and return it to any station near their destination.

San Antonio has a bike share program, too and provides the following information on the benefits of biking:

  • The average commuter spends 50 hours every year stuck in traffic. Overall, traffic congestion costs the US economy $78 billion a year.
  • The average person loses 13 lbs. their first year of commuting by bike.  A fifteen minute bicycle ride to and from work five times a week can burn the equivalent of 11 pounds of fat in a year.
  • On average, 18% of household expenditures are for transportation – more than on clothing, health care, and entertainment combined.
  • Cyclists are exposed to less pollution than taxi or bus passengers.
  •  A short, four-mile round trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air. By 2032 traffic delays will more than double and CO2 emissions traced to congestion will reach 60 million tons.
  • Five billion gallons of fuel are wasted every year from cars idling in traffic. Those same traffic delays represent nine billion dollars in lost productivity.

Denver has B-Cycle, University of California, Irving has Zotwheels, Philadelphia shares bikes, and the City of Austin has started a pilot bike-share program.  In July, Boston’s bike-share program, called Hubway, will start with nearly 600 bicycles and 61 stations in the city.  Seattle is on the road to creating a bike share and hopefully more cities will join these efforts.

Picture by Erin Gilmer, June 2006I love the idea of bike sharing coming to American cities.  When I visited Amsterdam (where literally everyone bikes), I rented a bike and took it up north of the city to Edam.  I had a wonderful time seeing the country side!

Even without a bike sharing program, it’s great to strap on your helmet, fill up your tires, and get outside.  May is Austin Bike Month with event’s taking place throughout the city (you can find all the details at the Austin Chronicle  website).

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3 Responses to Let’s Get Biking!

  1. thew says:

    Denver has an awesome bikeshare program, too! I think they claimed it was the largest in the nation, though I have no idea if that’s accurate or not. My friend uses it all the time and says it’s great.

  2. […] I recently told you it’s Bike Month in Austin and told you all about bike shares.  I wanted to let you know about this great website that can make your active lifestyle meaningful for you and others. […]

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