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Bike To Work Day

 

Downloadable Bike Path Maps

                                                     Bike Loop Map                                                                    OhioHealth Route Map

                                                     StarTek Route Map                                                             Sterkel Route Map                                                            

National Bike to Work Day will be held this year on May 17th. This is a day to raise awareness of the small percentage of the US population that commute to work by bicycle as well as promote the benefits of bicycling on the rider’s health and the environment. Those who take part in this event will also realize just how biased America’s transportation network is towards vehicles and how the safety of other road users is often an afterthought.

Most people learned to ride a bicycle as a child and sometimes would ride around town to meet with friends or to have fun. Then, once they get their driver’s license, they often put it away and may only get it out for an occasional ride for recreation or forget about it altogether. But why not return to the days of old and ride your bicycle for useful trips like to work, school, the store, or meet with friends again? Well, now you have an excuse: Bike to Work Day.

Here are eight benefits of bicycling to work:

  1. You will not need any caffeine until about 2 PM.

  2. You will get all the benefits of hitting the gym right before work. These include enhanced problem-solving, organizational, and critical thinking skills.

  3. Your commute will help relieve any stress that built up during the day.

  4. You will sleep better at night.

  5. Your happiness and confidence will increase.

  6. Your blood pressure, resting pulse rate, and weight will decrease.

  7. You won’t pump toxic emissions into the stratosphere.

  8. You will drink more, but your vehicle will drink less.

The advantages of biking to work outweigh the mundane task of motoring to work. When a person is encapsulated in a steel, plastic, and glass machine, the surrounding real world, apart from traffic control devices and signage, fades into obscurity. Riding a bicycle allows one to smell the roses, and hear babbling brooks and singing birds. Above all, it allows you to unwind and feel like a kid again.

Still unsure? Here are some questions you may have and answers to them.

Q: What if the road I take to work is too busy?

 

A: Simply avoid those roads. Look for alternative routes on quieter streets, residential neighborhoods, and side alleys. The route may be longer, but the enjoyment obtained is worth it.

Q: What if I live too far away from work to bike?    

 

A: If you live too far away to safely bike to work, you can drive to one of the following locations and ride your bike the rest of the way.

  • Former Madison Middle School Football Field Parking Lot

  • North Lake Park Parking Lot

  • Mid Ohio Educational Service Center and StarTek Parking Lot

  • Sterkel Park Baseball Field Parking Lot

  • MedCentral Fitness Center Parking Lot

  • Ashland University College of Nursing (Located at the corner of Marion Avenue and Trimble Road)

If you live near a Richland County Transit route, you can bike to the nearest route segment, flag a bus, and then either place the bike on a bus bike rack or roll your bike onto the bus in front of your seat. You can then ride the bus to a stop close to your destination and ride your bike or walk from there to your job.

 

Q: How will I carry all my stuff?

 

A: Keep some things at your job that don’t need to be taken back every night like a change of shoes or clothing. Pack daily needs like lunch or other work items in a backpack. Make sure the backpack has reflective stripes to remind motorists of your presence. Your bike itself could also provide storage space. Most bikes come with either a basket on the front or a place to mount one. Some bikes also have a bar above the back wheel where another basket or crate can be mounted.

 

Q: What if I get all sweaty biking to work?

 

A: A bike is more efficient than walking, therefore you will expend less energy. Pedal more slowly during the last half mile and let the fresh air blowing in your face cool you down. If warm upon arrival, go to the restroom and place a cold and wet paper towel on your face and neck to cool down. You’ll be ready to seize the day in minutes.

 

 

Q: What about safety?

 

A: Make yourself be seen. Wear colors such as a reflective vest. Reflectors and flashing red lights (called blinkies) can be attached to the back of your bike. There are also headlights that can be placed on the front to help light the way when it’s dark out. And don’t forget your helmet!

Once you hit the road, remember that bicyclists must obey all motor vehicle laws. Ride on the right side of the street or the direction of traffic on one-way streets, make complete stops at red traffic signals and stop signs, don’t ride on sidewalks, signal your turns with your right or left arm and hand pointing your intended direction, and always ride in a predictable manner. If you are slowing or stopping, hold out your left arm with the forearm extended downward. When you’re making these signals, make sure you are able to maintain your steering and braking control with your other hand.

 

 

Q: There’s no place to lock up or store my bike at my work. What do I do?

 

A: A bike can securely locked onto fences, railings, poles, trees, and utility piping on the sides of buildings. Make sure there are no signs that prohibit bike parking in the area and that the property does not prohibit bicycles entirely. Ask if there is a secure place inside where it can be stored.

Q: What if it’s raining?

A: If it’s not raining that hard, the best way to deal with it is to wear a poncho. There are even ones designed specifically for bicycle and/or motorcycle riders. It’s also a good idea to always carry one in case it randomly starts raining on your way. One could also be kept at your workplace in case it’s raining when you leave. Your shoes will get wet, so wear old shoes that you don’t care get wet and then pack shoes to change into afterwards. If your backpack is not waterproof you could either place the poncho over it or place all the items inside it in plastic bags so that if the interior starts to get wet, they are protected.

 

 

Q: The Mansfield area is very hilly. How do I deal with that?

A: Most bikes have a gear system that allows the rider to shift gears. The purpose of this system is to make climbing hills easier in exchange for pedaling more. For smaller hills, more force can be added to the pedals when you get off of the bike seat and enter almost a standing position. A lot of times, after you go up a hill, you go down it almost immediately, allowing you to briefly rest while gravity does your legwork. If you’re willing to invest, you could get an electric bicycle and use the electric motor to climb hills. Just don’t be that guy who only uses the electric motor. That kind of defeats the purpose of biking.

Need some more inspiration to take those two wheels for a spin? Well, here are six ways to make this more fun:

  1. Take a scenic route. Maybe try out the B&O Trail if you haven’t yet.

  2. Stop by a coffee shop along the way. There are many in the downtown area.

  3. Post updates of your experience on social media.

  4. Similarly, you could make a video of your ride and post it on the web. They even make helmets that you can mount a camera to.

  5. Ride with friends. If they are ones you grew up with, then it can be a blast to the past.

  6. Another way to relive childhood memories, if you are from the area, is to ride through the neighborhood you grew up in or past the school you used to go to.    

 

Let’s all raise our kickstands to a safe and enjoyable bike ride to work!

Volunteers and members of RCRPC, RCT, and Richland County Health will have a table set up at the Downtown Public Parking Lot at 4th Street and Main Street from 7:00 to 9:00 AM.  Stop by for some safety related gifts (such as helmets, reflective vests, etc.) and a bicycle safety brochure.

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