Hundreds, likely thousands, of Iowans are taking two-wheeled transportation to their places of employment today as part of Bike to Work Week. Triathlete Ken Sherman of Des Moines says riding a bicycle is invigorating and empowering.
"One of the reasons is that it’s just a healthy thing to do," Sherman says. "The second thing is, you can save a lot of money just riding your bike back and forth to work rather than filling the car with gas, and that’s good since energy is a big thing these days."
While your gasoline bills go down, Sherman laughs when he says your grocery bills may rise as you’re burning so much more personal energy. Actually, he says, biking helps you to slim down and stay fit. Sherman says he’s known many people who had issues with being overweight and he says once they took up an active routine, like biking, "the pounds just shed off and it becomes a way of life, rather than just an exercise."
While some Iowa communities have bike lanes aside busy roadways, most don’t. Sherman says bicyclists need to scout out their routes. "Any road in the state is safe to drive on at certain times," but he says other areas should be avoided, especially during peak hours.
He says you can avoid a lot of the traffic snarls by ducking into neighborhoods and staying off main thoroughfares. Some Iowans will shy away from biking to work for fear they may have a close encounter with a car or truck, which Sherman says is an understandable concern.
He says most of the accidents between motor vehicles and bikes happen in urban areas, but "once we get out into the countryside and after-work evening rides, it’s very seldom you see cars out on the road."
Many communities offer courses, often for free, to help bikers learn about their rights and safe biking techniques. For more information, visit the Bike Iowa website .