Celebrate National Bike to Work Day

How to Celebrate National Bike to Work Day

Rachel Lark - May 18, 2023

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Dust off your bicycle and grab your helmet — it’s almost National Bike to Work Day! Whether you’re an avid cyclist or you haven’t taken a ride around the block in a while, this global celebration toward the end of May is a great opportunity to connect with your body and mind while promoting a healthier planet.

What Is National Bike to Work Day?

Bike to Work Day is an event celebrated every spring, encouraging people to ride their bikes to and from work, school or other activities. While countries in North America, Europe, and Asia host similar celebrations throughout May and June, the most widely-observed Bike to Work Day is the third Friday of May.

The League of American Bicyclists hosted the first Bike to Work Day back in 1956, extolling the physical benefits of an active commute. Since then, it’s become a global celebration of cycling, staying active and taking care of the environment.

Why Commute on a Bike?

The point of Bike to Work Day isn’t just to get people on two wheels for one day. In fact, it’s just one part of Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Month! The goal is to inspire you to make cycling one of your main modes of transportation. Otherwise, it’s at least an excellent activity to stay active.

Learn about all the benefits of regularly commuting on a bike:

  • Regular exercise: You need to get to work anyway — why not reap the benefits of a good workout simultaneously? Active transportation methods, like walking and cycling, are healthier alternatives to driving a car. Making cycling part of your daily routine helps prevent a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Reduced pollution: More bikes mean fewer cars, and fewer cars mean less vehicle pollution contaminating our air, water, and land. Becoming a bike commuter is an inexpensive way to cut your carbon emissions and live more sustainably.
  • Less traffic: Getting caught in a traffic jam is a headache. Avoid car traffic by taking advantage of the spacious bike lanes lining your streets instead.

5 Ways to Observe National Bike to Work Day

Now that you know all the benefits of cycling to work — either every day or just on occasion — you’re ready to celebrate the big day. Check out these five ways to observe Bike to Work Day this year and every year.

1. Organize a Ride

While biking on your own is fun, it’s even better when you have friends along for the ride! Consider organizing a group ride with coworkers or friends who work nearby. You can pick a meet-up spot a few miles from the office, wait for everyone to arrive and then head towards your destination as a team. No one gets left behind and you’ll bond with your teammates.

If making your entire commute by bike isn’t feasible because of distance or other factors, consider hosting a mid-day ride during your lunch break or wrapping up the day with a post-work workout through the streets. Bike to Work Day isn’t strictly about getting to the office — it’s about enjoying the ride whenever you can.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, many people have transitioned to remote work and no longer commute to the office. Work from home? No problem! You can still organize a bike ride alone or with friends at any time. In fact, a “fake commute” like a quick morning bike ride can even improve your work-life balance.

2. Attend a Community Event

Don’t worry, you don’t have to do all the organizing yourself. With a little research online or around town, you’re sure to find local events you can attend with other cyclists. Most cities host group rides and other activities, like bicycle repair services and tips for new riders. You can check out local bike shops to learn how they’re getting involved. 

For example, San Francisco hosts an annual celebration with thousands of enthusiasts, transit authorities, government officials, and corporate sponsors. People across the Bay Area enjoy a healthy commute, complete with free food and coffee stations hosted by local cyclist coalitions. 

3. Advocate for Cyclist Safety

While cycling advocates tout the health and safety benefits of cycling to work, safety often depends on awareness among people in cars and other vehicles. The National Safety Council reports that bicycle fatalities are on the rise, increasing at least 44% over the last decade, and most are motor vehicle-related incidents.

In light of these trends, National Bike to Work Day also serves to draw visibility to cyclists and encourage drivers to share the road safely. Many community events may feature speakers who discuss safety issues and potential improvements. For example, concrete medians, protected bike lanes more cyclist-focused infrastructure can reduce the risks of collisions.

4. Support Public Transit Initiatives

Active transportation like cycling goes hand in hand with sustainable public transit. For many people interested in cycling to work, making their entire commute by bike isn’t possible or practical. Instead, they can ride their bike to the train or bus station and then catch public transit to the office.

That’s why it’s necessary for bicyclists to support local public transportation. Many local transit authorities are involved in annual Bike to Work Day festivities, even offering free transportation services to participants that day. 

5. Keep Riding Your Bike!

If you really want to make the most of Bike to Work Day, why not continue it for the rest of the year? The only way to reap the full benefits of this annual celebration is to make cycling a regular part of your commute or lifestyle.

If you can’t commute by bike every day, you can make it a habit once a week. Even these small changes will ensure you stay active and reduce your carbon footprint.

Get Ready for Bike to Work Day

It doesn’t matter if you’re a bicycling fanatic or your tires are a little flat at the moment — Bike to Work Day is an opportunity to get on the road and feel the sun and wind on your face. Keep an eye out for local events and participate in the festivities this year. Maybe you’ll find the inspiration to turn your commute into the best part of your day!

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About the author

Rachel Lark

Rachel serves as the Assistant Editor of Environment.co. A true foodie and activist at heart, she loves covering topics ranging from veganism to off grid living.