Bike to Work Day - A Perfect Day for a Bike Ride
It’s a rite of passage for many kids – when they’re old enough to spend a summer day on their bike, riding carefree until dark.
Friday is Bike to Work Day – a time when adults can get that same feeling, and be rewarded after work with a street party.
Bike to Work Day is an annual event held across the U.S. Sponsored locally by Bikeatoga, the goal is to get more people out of their cars and onto their bikes. “Riding your bike is just healthier,” says Riley Neugebauer. She’s a bike rider, as well as the Sustainability Coordinator at Skidmore College, where more than a dozen people rode their bikes into work on Friday. “And by getting out of your car you reduce emissions, which is good for everyone’s health.”
A nice thing about biking, says Neugebauer, is the affect it has on more than just the rider. “I can ride down the street, and you make eye contact with someone you pass, and maybe even have a conversation. It feels more personal, and I feel more a part of the community.”
Bike to Work Day was started in 1956 by members of the League of American Bicyclists. According to the group, bicyclists in the U.S. save more than $4.5 billion a year by not driving. And they say that if every American were to replace just one four mile car trip with a bike each week for a year –52 such trips – it would save more than two billion gallons of gasoline. According to the government’s Energy Information Agency, that could reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil by more than 100 million barrels a year.
About three dozen bikers gathered at the Arts Center in Congress Park Friday morning for breakfast before heading to work. And Friday afternoon the bike shop Spa City Bicycleworks on Beekman Street is sponsoring a party for riders. They’ll be offering trophies for organizations with the most people on bicycles, and one person will receive the award for the longest individual commute.
Levi Rogers works in Skidmore’s Sustainability office, and organized the Skidmore team of bike riders this year. He says Skidmore hopes to defend its SteerHead trophy, which it won last year for having the highest number of riders of any business in Saratoga Springs. “It’s just nice to get people out on the road building an alternate transportation network, at least for one day.”
Paul Dwyer rode his bike 15 miles to his job as an editor at Skidmore College Friday morning. He says it’s only his third time out this year, so the distance was a bit challenging, but he described the ride as, “Delightful. I found a nice route that wasn’t Route 9 all the way, and the lilacs are in bloom – glorious.”
ON THE WIRE