Bike to Work Week!

Last week was Bike to Work Week in Chicago. We celebrate it later than the rest of the country, waiting until June to make sure it does not snow. :)

I volunteered at an Active Transportation Alliance commuter pit stop one morning. The stop offered free coffee and Clif bars, various swag, tune-ups and general encouragement.  I mostly just stood around chatting with friends, though.

This particular pit stop was co-hosted by The Chainlink and REI.

Julie of The Chainlink worked the megaphone with great enthusiasm and cuteness.

People signed their names to a petition to support more protected bike lanes in Chicago, part of Active Trans’s new and exciting Neighborhood Bikeways Campaign.

My friend Sara happened to ride by on her way to work, looking naturally fabulous.  Hello!

And other office cycle chic peeps rolled by.

After a demanding morning of gabbing and drinking free Caribou coffee, I set off for the office myself.

I’m a fan of Bike to Work Week. Some people criticize the focus on commuting, while others proclaim it should be “bike to work week every week,” but the directed outreach seems to encourage new people to try transportation cycling. In fact, I first biked to work during the official Bike to Work Week three years ago.  It would be interesting to see statistics comparing the amount of bike commuters the week before, the week of, and the week after the event.

Was anyone else inspired by Bike to Work Week or a similar event as a newbie?  Do you have any co-workers who became interested in commuting after hearing about the event?

  • http://osnbiking.blogspot.com/ GITerDone

    Heh. My coworkers looked at me like I was nuts for riding my bike to work. And I asked if they liked paying that $4.00+ per gallon to get to work. Didn’t see it catch on with anyone though :(

  • http://dingdingletsride.com Samantha

    Great photos Dottie – love your commuting outfit too! Bike to Work Week is fun because it does seem to get people’s attention, and gets more people out on bikes. I know that I certainly saw a ton of bikes downtown during the week, and I heard that they had around 250 bikes parked at the Naperville Metra stop due to all the people who rode their bikes to the train that week!

    Great shot of Julie too! :-)

  • Deb

    I don’t have the article on hand at the moment, but there have been studies showing that bike to work week does increase bike commuting for more than just that week. I think it was something like 20% who bike to work for the first time during that week end up commuting by bike regularly after that.

  • Accordion

    http://www.bv.com.au/general/ride-to-work/93104/

    The above link takes you the equivalent ride to work day here in Melbourne – Australia. On the right side are the follow up surveys that show long term take up rates.

    Our day is held just as spring gets going. Right now it is a very chilly winter.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com Dottie

      I visited the link and saw that “43% of new commuters continued riding 5 months after the 2010 event.” That’s a great number!

  • John

    I think my first time biking to work in the Loop might have been during bike to work week. After that, I started doing it once a week in the summer and after my old mountain bike from HS broke, I got a new road bike to make it even faster and easier.

  • http://Chicargobike Jenn.

    I love that picture of Julie too! We did our bike to school week after our staff signed up for the Bike to Work Challenge. We had some silly fun activities all week to get the kids excited. Lots of new families tried the trip to school for the first time. I think the party atmosphere of the week encourages people to give it a try then maybe try it again a little more later on. Our guys were excited to see so many more kids out on their bikes too.

  • http://midwestmigrant.blogspot.com Ed L.

    I have been a bike commuter for the past three years, but I’ve always been kind of oblivious to Bike to Work Week. Great idea/event, which I fully support, but I never seem to remember it until after it’s done.

    I first started biking to work because I needed to get back into shape to ride a some event rides and couldn’t figure out how else to make time to ride. I rode by one of the commuter pit stops last week and went,” Oh yeah, so that’s why the commute this morning is so crowded.”

  • kristin

    here in Olympia, WA, we have a bicycle commuter contest the month of may. it costs $5 to register, and you log your miles, and then send in your form and get TONS of coupons from local businesses (discounts at restaurants and clothing stores, free food and discounts on bike stuff) and the chance to win prizes at the raffle in june. during bike to work week, they set up booths outside of the local grocery store and gave out free water bottles from bike tech (local shop) and food and coffee. it was pretty awesome! i chanced on it during my regular commute. anyway, they said that 1,452 people participated this year and made almost 14,000 practical trips by bike just for the month of may, preventing 100,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. so yeah, i certainly think that these events have a big impact on getting people’s attention. i have noticed WAY more new bikers out lately.

  • http://thislittlebikeofmine.tumblr.com/ Sara

    Julie was hysterical with that megaphone. Bike To Work Week last year had a huge impact on me – it’s when I realized I really could commute on a daily basis.

    ATA does such a good job putting this on. Between the pit stops, the after-work events, the rally, etc. they cover all the bases and really get people pumped. It’s easily one of my favorite bike “events” in Chicago. Thanks for volunteering and taking beautiful pics!

  • http://www.thejulieblog.com Julie Hardee

    Critics who say it should be “bike to work week every week” are like people who hate on Valentine’s Day and say “it should be valentine’s day every day” It’s fun to have a little celebration and bring the biking community together. I enjoyed Bike Month in NYC!

  • http://bikinginheels-cycler.blogspot.com/ cycler

    As I’ve said before, I love free breakfast week!
    We need to start having ours in Boston in June as well so that it isn’t 40′s and rainy, which IMHO is worse than snow…. The last couple of years they’ve had what they call “Bike Fridays”, once a month there’s a commuter appreciation day downtown w/ breakfast- advocacy booths, coupons etc. It’s probably not worth it if you don’t bike downtown, but it’s a nice chance to catch up with other commuters through the summer.
    We need to start planning now for some kind of “worst day of the year” ride in January though- that’s when you really need a morale boost!

  • David

    I’m almost the only person in my workplace who rides to work – definitely the only person who rides every day, all year, no matter what – but I was pleasantly surprised to learn last week that our deputy commissioner (I work for the City) rides his bike to work occasionally. I’ve always had a pretty supportive environment for my cycling here, but it’s nice to know there is more. All the same, I’ve never tried to recruit more people to ride to work during BTWW – as it is, many people here live on the south and southwest sides and have longish commutes. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit that I’m a slacker in that regard.

  • http://www.inspiredcyclist.wordpress.com Maureen

    Encouraging people to do something healthy, and having fun with that process, can only be good!

  • David

    Oh, I do love bike to work week. Yes, I bike every week too. But it’s nice to celebrate and get people motivated. It’s good for those who are too shy to start on their own.

  • http://jesseanneo.blogspot.com/ jesse.anne.o

    The day did make me think about the concept but I am still too new to riding in traffic that I need lots more practice (and to be in better shape, frankly) with riding with cars before I bike into Manhattan! I’m hoping that next year will be the year I try it out.

  • Rick

    Nice pictures. I participated in the bike to work week in Boston back in May. Although to be fair… I always commute by bike. :) I recently got a friend to start commuting partially by bike. He taked the train part way with a folding bike then rides the rest. At least hes not driving!