Bikes Belong!

The Chicago Sun-Times published another super positive piece about biking today, an op-ed by the President of Bikes Belong. To my pleasant surprise, the paper used my picture to accompany the piece.

Photo by Keith Hale, Chicago Sun-Times

The entire op-ed, which also appeared in the Chicago Tribune, is below.

Why just ride to work when you can ride everywhere?

This week, commuters in Chicago are celebrating Bike-to-Work Week. An unprecedented number of commuters will savor the benefits of two wheels for health, fun, the environment and their bank accounts.

While Bike-to-Work Week is a great concept, I like to think of it as Bike-to-Anywhere Week — the store, a friend’s house, a trail, school. More than 70 percent of the trips that Americans take each day aren’t work-related. Nearly half of our trips are three miles or less.

For these short outings, riding a bike makes sense. Going six miles by bike instead of by car saves an average of $3, and three hours of riding a week can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by half.

But after 30 years as a cycling journalist, national bike advocacy leader and regular rider, I think I understand what will discourage most Bike-to-Anywhere neophytes from continuing to pedal next week.

If people are going to bike regularly, riding needs to be safe. It needs to be relaxing. Ideally, the route should be scenic. And when you arrive anywhere, a secure and convenient place to park your bike is essential.

Although cities like Chicago have made big steps toward becoming more bike-friendly, in too many cities and towns across Illinois and our whole country, these conditions don’t exist — at least not yet.

My organization, the Bikes Belong Foundation, is trying to change this. We’ve created a new national bike movement called peoplefor bikes.org. Our goal is to get 1 million Americans to sign a pledge of support for bicycling.

Close to 50 million Americans ride each year. A few cost-effective investments in facilities could help bicycling become even bigger, and more helpful in addressing key national challenges such as obesity, air pollution and dependence on expensive, nonrenewable sources of energy.

We like to say that when people ride bikes, great things happen — for the individual, the community, the nation and the planet.

You’ll see the appeal of two wheels on the faces of the people who ride this week. Look for smiles all around, just from the simple act of riding a bike to anywhere.

Tim Blumenthal,

president,

Bikes Belong Foundation

{Can I get a hell yeah? Sign People for Bikes Pledge here!}

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18 thoughts on “Bikes Belong!

  1. Steve A says:

    I guess I have a little trouble with Bikes Belong. As they note on their own website, “Note: Bikes Belong Coalition no longer funds education grants.” (see website link)

    So we’ll build facilities but we won’t support teaching people how to use them safely? I don’t think I’d go that far to sell more bikes. If you do not know how to ride safely on the facility available, you are a danger to yourself and others. As I recall, Dottie made this exact point on June 10th in a post that ripped my heart out.

  2. Melissa S. says:

    Awesome! I’m proud of you! ;-)

  3. Jim Duncan says:

    You are an engaging and excellent ambassador for the cycling community. We are lucky to have you.

  4. David says:

    That short-skirt pic is just going to live forever isn’t it?

  5. [...] with big trucks. How to stay cool in the long hot summer. Trek kills Gary Fisher, sort of. Bikes belong everywhere says Bikes Belong. The former Ugly Betty looks pretty good on her bike. A New England cyclist [...]

  6. Haa haa…I’m a stickler for the liTTle details, and I think it’s so cool that your first AND last name contain double T’s.
    doTTie brackeTT.
    I just think that’s fun.
    Happy Friday!
    :)

  7. dukiebiddle says:

    Fantastic Op-ed, but I do take small exception with the “the route should be scenic” part. That sounds like a really good way to get infrastructure funds diverted towards MUPs that will be out of the way, never get lights, will have a dusk to dawn curfew and cannot be used for commuting when the sun goes down before 5 pm. It also may lead motorists to believe that they are subsidizing bicycle recreational parkways. The safe infrastructure needs to be in the same general area as all the other commuting modes, well populated and illuminated.

  8. It’s a nice article overall, though I think there is too much emphasis on health and statistics to make it interesting to a non-cyclist. Focusing on the pleasurable and convenient aspects of cycling would be more effective, I think.

  9. dan says:

    You go bike Bike Diva

  10. Dave says:

    The people for bikes thing is the first really big positive advertising for cycling that I’ve seen in the U.S. I’m sure Bikes Belong has its issues, and faces some of the same problems of misconception that plague bicycling in America, but the people for bikes campaign I feel is really a move in the right direction.

  11. Cherilyn says:

    Very fun! Congrats!

  12. eva says:

    you are a shining star for the cycling community!

  13. Sheena says:

    Wonderful article and congrats on the picture! I am happy that there is this type of advocacy for more people getting out and riding bikes, whether it’s to work or running errands. It’s a good thing.

  14. bongobike says:

    Hell yeah! :)

  15. Ian says:

    Hi Dottie,
    Is your commute to work 10 miles round trip or 20 miles ?? I always thought you cycled 10 miles there and 10 miles back ??
    Have the newspaper got it wrong ?

  16. Scott says:

    Sweet! Now you are the Sun-Times’ stock picture for a stylish lady on a bike. Kind of like how I am the stock picture for when The Onion needs a nerd:

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/area-man-somehow-even-less-popular-than-he-was-in,1733/

  17. Karen says:

    I’m so glad they used your photo. You look so chic and elegant, illustrating who bike commuters are today. I also like the reminder that we can ride our bike anywhere, not just to work.

  18. meligrosa says:

    that is fantastic!! what a wise choice – those paper peoople know better!! ;-)
    xxo <3

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