Beginning on May 30th and continuing until the end of June, Bike Month is a celebration of cycling in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. For those looking for an alternative to their everyday commute by car or transit, bike to work day is May 30th, and lucky participants can enter to win a Norco Indie 4 commuter bicycle. If you’ve got school-aged children in your life, find out if their school is registered for the challenge, and encourage them to participate in bike to school week from May 30 until June 3 2016. While these events are fun for those involved, there’s more than a few reasons why you and your loved ones should get on the road this bike month!
More bikes on the road means more safety for cyclists
Research shows that the more bicycles on the road, the safer it becomes for all cyclists. Unlike cars, it’s the more the merrier (and safer). Dr. Julie Hatfield of the University of New South Wales says that “The likelihood that an individual cyclist will be struck by a motorist falls with increasing rate of bicycling in a community. And the safer cycling is perceived to be, the more people are prepared to cycle.”
It’s so much cheaper than driving
It only costs about $308 dollars per year to keep a bicycle in good working condition, which is 30 times less than what it takes to maintain a car, according to the Sierra Club. “If American drivers were to make just one four-mile round trip each week with a bicycle instead of a car, they would save nearly 2 billion gallons of gas. At $4 per gallon, total savings would be $7.3 billion a year.”
Bicycling is excellent exercise for almost everyone
The average cyclist loses 13 pounds in their first year of cycling alone, as cycling is an excellent cardiovascular workout. Lisa Callahan, medical doctor of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City says, “”If you’re overweight and start an exercise program, sometimes it’s harder on your joints because you are overweight, so something like swimming or biking that’s not pounding on the joints can be a good thing.”
Don’t own a bike? No problem
If you’re in a major city and looking for an affordable way to commute, why not give bike sharing a try? In Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, and Miami, many bike sharing programs have popped up, offering thirty to forty-five minutes of bike-time for a pretty small cost. The city of Vancouver rolls out their new bike sharing system this summer and Toronto’s Bike Share (formerly Bixi) doubled their service last year with the help of Metrolinx.
Leave your parking pass at home
While driving might be convenient, finding a parking spot never is. Invest in a strong lock and keep your eye out for publicly designated bike locking rings, racks, or street signs when you’re ready to dock. In Toronto, bike locking rings have been especially re-designed to be strong and anti-theft and their widespread use was encouraged by former NDP leader, Jack Layton—something that makes Torontonians extra proud of their bike culture.
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