When the warm breezes of spring blow through Boulder offices, it’s time for bike-commuting pep talks. The month of June offers a whole roster of events—more than 75 of ‘em!—aimed at raising awareness of bike routes and the viability of commuting by bike or on foot. The biggest, on June 24, is Bike to Work Day. That’s what brings out the competitive streak in mild-mannered transportation coordinators.
The key, says Ellen Orleans, who preps Boulder city employees for the big day, is planning ahead. “You don’t want to get up on the morning of June 24 and realize, oops, I need air in my tires,” she says. The city is conducting at least 60 bike readiness workshops in the lead-up this spring, and Orleans encourages a buddy system in which employees post their routes and offer to ride with newbies.
At NOAA, Chuck Brock and his Bike to Work Day committee dangle swag and prizes, and pit their people against the next-door neighbors at NIST. “We hammer our people with emails to the point where some complain,” says Brock. “But it’s all in fun.” Look for NOAA and NIST folks outside their buildings on June 24 for a lunchtime picnic with snacks, drinks, games and vendors.
But the team to out-do is Plexus Engineering Solutions of Louisville. Their 100 employees boasted 100 percent participation last year, and this year they’ve already signed up about three-quarters of their staff more than a month ahead of time. How do they do it? “We’re a global company,” says Mary Buss, “and all locations compete. Darmstadt, Germany always gets 100 percent. It’s a good way for the company to link together.”
Of course, the point is not just a big two-wheeled turnout on June 24. “Bike to Work Day is fun,” says Orleans, “but the point is a long-term commitment to biking—whether that is every day or once a week.” The city aims to shrink its carbon footprint, in part by reducing single-occupancy car travel, within the next 20 years by 20 percent.
Sue Prant, director of Walk and Bike Month, has heard plenty of stories about the effects of Bike to Work Day, and this may be her favorite quote: “I want to get rid of a car now that I ride to work.”
WalkandBikeMonth.org is the place to go for the latest list of Walk and Bike Month events— more than 75 this year! REGISTER FOR BIKE TO WORK DAY Select “Register” button on the front page. WHY REGISTER? You help businesses plan ahead for breakfast stations, help the city measure the impact riding can make on the environment and help determine how future city planning can better accommodate cyclists. Plus, you’ll be eligible to win GREAT PRIZES!