Iowa motorists will notice more two-wheelers on the road this morning as part of Bike to Work Week. Whether it’s for exercise, to save money or to live a greener lifestyle, Iowa Bicycle Coalition executive director Mark Wyatt says plenty of people are turning to pedal power, and not just for a week. He encourages Iowans to give biking to work a spin.
“A lot of times your commute is much shorter than you can even imagine and it’s pretty comparable by car,” Wyatt says. “It’s easy. If you really want to start, give it a try it on a weekend and get out there and see how long your commute’s going to be and help with your timing and such.”
Common complaints are that people don’t want to be all sweaty when they get to work, or that their hair will be messed up from wearing a bike helmet. “You can take your clothes to work,” Wyatt says. “Hair products are portable so it’s really easy to set up there at work, towel off and change clothes before you go on about your day.”
One study found that biking to work instead of driving a car can save $6,000 to $7,000 a year. While the winter months pose a challenge in Iowa, Wyatt says there’s no valid excuse to not try biking to work this spring — and this week. “We have 1,600 miles of trails available for people to use and countless number of bike lanes that are starting to pop up in urban areas,” Wyatt says.
“As far as bike friendliness, we’re ranked #6 so there’s plenty of opportunities you can get out and bike on facilities designated for bicycles.” In the ten years since his organization started promoting Bike to Work Week in Iowa, Wyatt says the number of participants has grown from a few hundred to several thousand statewide. He says it’s easy to get involved and before you get on the road, you can start online.
“Go to http://www.bikeiowa.comor www.iowagoesbybicycle.com,” Wyatt says. “We have a national bicycle challenge that we’re participating in so users can log their miles and keep track of how long it takes to get to work and how much fun you’re having along the way.”
There is a host of rides, races and other bike-related events over the coming weeks as part of National Bike Month.