Bike to work resources
Despite our complaints about commuting, it takes a lot of effort to get people to change their patterns of travel. There's always a threshold to cross into the unfamiliar.
The lowest hurdle might be for a driver switching from one route to another. (When do I need to move to the exit lane?) Higher on the scale would be a driver switching to Metrorail. (What's this SmarTrip card I need to pay for parking?) Higher still would be a switch to bus. (How much is the fare? Is this bus going where I want?)
One of the biggest leaps takes a commuter from driving or using transit to biking. How do I dress? What route should I take? Do I stay with the traffic or get out of the way? Will I get honked at? Will I get hurt?
Friday's Bike to Work Day is designed to get people past some of those threshold questions by letting them travel to work in a convoy with cyclists who know what they're doing. There are 35 gathering points around the region. They even have prizes.
If you think you need the exercise, the adventure, or just a break in your commuting pattern, here are some resources that could help.
-- Use this link to find where the Bike to Work Day pit stops are. (Be sure to check the start and end times for your particular gathering. They are not the same in all cases.)
-- Bike to Work Day has a Twitter feed, a good spot to watch for updates and links for further information.
-- This link takes you to the registration page. (You may be able to win a T-shirt.)
-- This page shows the convoy routes. That's a printout you'll want to have for Bike to Work Day, but it also gives you ideas for routes you could take any day.
-- The Bike and Roll program is offering free rentals on Friday for its comfort hybrid style of cycle. Here's the page for reserving online. You would pick up the rental at one of Bike and Roll's three locations. Click here for a map of the main location in downtown D.C. For the Bike to Work Day special, the pick-ups are from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday or starting at 7:30 a.m. Friday. Drop off before 5:45 p.m. Friday at any location. Call 202-962-0206 to reserve a bike at Union Station or call 703-548-7655 to reserve at the Old Town Alexandria location.
-- There are seminars and classes for beginner, intermediate and advanced cyclists.
-- Need a little inspiration? Kate Kennedy, with the public affairs office at Catholic University, pointed out this article about some of the professors who bike to work. And Chris Hamilton, the commuter services chief for Arlington County, pointed out that on Arlington's CarFreeDiet.com, you can follow the adventures of Ross and Todd as they try to live car free for a month. They really did this up. Their YouTube videos, blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds raise very practical issues in a fun way.
-- The Council of Governments' Commuter Connections program also provides a lot of practical advice on commuting by bicycle. For example, I find this page especially helpful: It's a quick guide to rules and safety issues in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. This page shows how to deal with your bike on regional transit systems. This interactive page helps you find your own bike route with Google Maps.
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