April 1, 2010
Here in the Northeastern region of the U.S., spring has officially arrived! We're supposed to see temperatures near 80(F) this weekend, highly unusual for this time of the year. In addition to getting my garden started, I'll be out on my bike. As you can read in my bio, cycling is a big part of my life.
There are lots of good reasons to bike: it's good for your health, connects you to your surrounding community, reduces the amount of your budget for transportation, and reduces impact on the environment. I first wrote about this at RocBike in 2007, but since this is my first post for sew green, I thought it would be a good idea to re-visit the green reasons for bike commuting.
According to The Consumer’s Guide to Effective Environmental Choices from the Union of Concerned Scientists, the 3 priority areas for consumers in reducing environmental impact are: transportation, food, and household operations. These are the 3 areas in which individual consumers can have the most impact, with transportation being numero uno.
The 5 specific recommended actions to reduce your transportation impact are:
1. Choose a place to live that reduces the need to drive.
2. Think twice before purchasing another car.
3. Choose a fuel-efficient, low-polluting car.
4. Set concrete goals for reducing your travel.
5. Whenever practical, walk, BICYCLE, or take public transportation.
The Earth Policy Institute reports that since 1970, bicycle production has outpaced automobile production, with bicycle production having quadrupled while car production has doubled. The report is optimistic about the potential of bicycling for reducing traffic congestion and pollution.
If you're an aspiring bike commuter, here are a few resources to help you get started:
--Bike Commute Tips blog by Paul Dorn.
--Ten Bike Commuting Myths Dispelled
--and there's always RocBike, which is especially relevant to those of us in wintry climes, but also expresses the sheer joy of bike commuting.
Finally, if you're concerned about safety, check out my post about how I overcame my own fear, after a near-miss accident involving my daughter.
I admire people who are completely car-free, and aspire to be one some day. But I haven’t quite figured out how to make that happen. However, I have been able to figure out how to live less than 5 miles from my place of work/study/yoga practice/spiritual community. I bike, walk, or bus whenever feasible, but since I do have access to a car, I have some guidelines about when I'm "allowed" to drive, which include circumstances such as extremely inclement weather, work-related reasons to drive, illness, and carrying very heavy loads.
What about you, our readers? How do you "green" your commute? Any other bike commuters out there? I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments, as well as any suggestions for future transportation-related posts you'd like to see here at sew green.