Thursday, May 9, 2013

bike to work month

This month is bike to work awareness month. After coming back from Europe, I miss seeing so many people darting in between cars on their bikes and motor scooters. It was refreshing to see people out and about, both conserving the environment and staying in shape. 
I live in Cincinnati and I am amazed at how much the city has changed to make transportation more accessible to bikers. Several of the main roads now have "bike only" lanes, not only to protect bikers, but to encourage more people to bike to work. 

Being a girl interested in fashion, especially shoes, I often fail to sacrifice style for practicality and/or comfort. Hence, my footwear while biking probably isn't the most reasonable. On the other hand, it can be challenging to then find comfortable shoes that are both suitable for biking but the work place as well. I received a pair of Maha Smooth Patagonia flats in Espresso last week! The flats are not only practical, but they are attractive as well. 
They are the perfect shoes to wear and I encourage you to check them out for a worthwhile investment in everyday footwear. Check them out HERE.

Some History
In the early days of the rail-trail movement back in 1980s, most rail-trails were long, mountain-bike and hiking trails through largely rural or wilderness areas. Decades later, rail-trails are now part of America’s biggest cities, and many of them are bustling commuter routes. Here’s a few famous big city pathways you might not know are in fact rail-trails: The Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis – the D.C. area’s Met Branch Trail, Capital Crescent Trail and W&OD Trail – the Burke Gilman Trail in Seattle – the Minuteman Bikeway in Massachusetts – even the world-famous High Line in New York City!
A rail-trail isn’t always a trail that has replaced an out-of-service train line – sometimes the train line is still active. We call these rail-with-trail projects. Rail-with-trails follow the corridor used by active passenger, freight or tourist trains. The Met Branch Trail into downtown D.C., and the Denton Branch Trail outside Dallas both carry walkers and riders alongside busy transit train lines, the two streams of travelers separated by a safety fence or other barrier.

Fun Facts
Of the states, Michigan has the most rail-trails miles (117 rail-trails totaling 2,645 miles), closely followed by Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Despite its very cold winters, Minnesota is one of the most active bike commuting states, thanks to a great trail system which includes the Midtown Greenway (a rail-trail!).
 Got a really serious commute? The longest rail-trails in America are the Katy Trail State Park in Missouri (238 miles) and the Cowboy Trail in Nebraska (195 miles).

Saving Money
Want to save some green? Driving to work costs, on average, about $9,000 a year, or roughly 59.6 cents per mile. That’s about $6 a day for a 10-mile roundtrip commute. Pocketing $6 for every day you pedal to work? That adds up.

Safety conscious? A study from University College in London found bike commuting is much safer than driving. Researchers recording how frequently cyclists and drivers were admitted to hospitals for crashes found that drivers were three-times more likely to be injured.
 If you're nervous about blazing a route to work by yourself, a great way to gain confidence is by finding a friend or coworker to share the ride. If no one else at your office is pedaling in, you might be able to seek a riding buddy via a local community group, blog or bike store.
 Make sure you give proper signals when riding with traffic (slowing down, turning, etc.). Keep the 3-feet rule in mind—space between bike and car—and display the same courtesy to others you would hope for yourself. Be extra safe in crossing intersections, and be sure to give way to pedestrians.

Health & Fitness
The average bike commuter can expect to lose 13 pounds in his first year of riding to work. Cycling burns about 300 calories an hour. This kind of regular exercise also reduces levels of depression and stress, improves mood, raises self-esteem and relieves premenstrual symptoms! Slimmer, handsomer, and generally more fun to be around! What’s not to love?
Green is the new sexy: a short, four-mile round trip by bicycle keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we all breathe. That’s hotter than rescuing a baby seal and saving a rainforest combined.

CONNECT with the project:
Twitter: @onlineshoes_com

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
Website: (more info on the Conservancy)
2nd Website: (trail finder and information about trails/news)
Twitter: @railstotrails 

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