Bike To Work Week has grown from just a few hundred Iowa participants in 2003 to well over 2,2oo this year and the numbers are still growing. Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, hopes people who try pedal power during this week will consider making it something they do more often, or all the time.
“One of the big changes with Bike To Work Week this year is it’s just expanded statewide and it’s continued to grow,” Wyatt says. “We’re seeing events in all the big cities across the state and a lot of the smaller communities are picking up the idea and saying it’s not a long distance but we can sure bike to work, too.”
In association with the week, some towns are offering community bike rides, biking breakfasts and other events, even handlebar happy hours. Wyatt says the biking culture in Iowa is truly prospering, with new bike trails being added, like the new High Trestle Trail in central Iowa. An avid two-wheel commuter, he says biking to work offers a host of pluses.
“The most obvious advantage is, you don’t have to pay $4 a gallon for gas,” Wyatt says. “It’s a good opportunity to get healthy and start enjoying your commute to work for once instead of being stuck behind the wheel.” Wyatt has answers for those who complain it’s too cold or too hot to bike to work, it’s too far or they’re just not in shape.
He says it’s easy to learn tips from other bike commuters and mentors via websites like “bikeiowa.com,” getting advice on equipping yourself with the right gear, the right clothes, and how to find places to shower before you get to work. Another program is underway this month, called Iowa Goes By Bicycle. Wyatt encourages people to sign up, log their minutes biking and get a shot at valuable prizes. That website is “iowagoesbybicycle.com.”