Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

National Bike to Work Day – Friday, May 18, 2018


In celebration of National Bike to Work Week held Monday, May 14 to Friday, May 18, the League of American Bicyclists encourages people to try bicycle commuting as a healthy and safe alternative to driving. Further, the American Medical Association has endorsed Bike to Work Day as part of its push to encourage active transportation.

In the U. S., 40% of all trips are less than two miles, making bicycling a feasible and fun way to get to work. With increased interest in healthy, sustainable and economic transportation options, it’s not surprising that, from 2000 to 2016, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 62 percent.

How much can bicycling help fight Climate Change? A lot, if communities and cities try. A new study from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) attempted to measure the potential of bikes and e-bikes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Already, ITDP estimates about 6 percent of miles traveled in world cities are by bike or e-bike. In a scenario where 14 percent of travel in the world’s cities by bike or e-bike in the year 2050, carbon emissions from urban transportation would be 11 percent lower. More than half of those bicycling miles, however, come from just a few countries, including Japan, China, the Netherlands, and Denmark.

If cities and communities aggressively pursue policies to promote sustainable modes such as developing large-scale networks of bike infrastructure, implementing bike-share, revising laws to protect cyclists and pedestrians, and investing in walking trails and public transit, biking to work can make a difference.

Join Indian Time in riding your Bike to Work on Friday, May 18th. Send us your selfie through Messenger and include the hash tag #IndianTimeBiketoWork and your photo may be featured in next week’s paper.

Here are some tips to help you.

1. Begin with an achievable distance. If you live only a few miles from work, it is conceivable that you can commute both ways on the first day. If you live several miles from work, which many of us do – the commute will take you some 45 to 60 minutes or more, consider biking one way and hitching a ride with a co-worker to get to the office, then ride home. Or vice-versa. Make the distance doable for you and don’t worry about what other people might be doing.

2. Start with an achievable frequency. Sure it sounds good that you’re turning over a new leaf and you have grand plans to commute to and from work every day, but is that goal achievable immediately? Begin by setting a goal to commute once per week. After you can consistently achieve success, add more commuting segments or days.

3. Wear a helmet. In the unlikely case of an accident, you want to protect your head and all those great ideas.

4. Wear clothing that can easily be seen by motorists. If you are commuting in early morning or late evening hours, wear reflective gear and put a flashing tail light on your bike. For daylight commuting wear bright colors that can easily be seen by motorists.

5. Don’t make a big deal out of special clothes and gear. Depending on the distance of your commute, you might be able to commute in your work clothes. Some commutes are workouts and other commutes are more practical in nature.

6. Consider cycling shorts. Yes, those tight, black shorts. If your commute is longer than 20 or 30 minutes, you will probably be more comfortable in cycling shorts. Cycling shorts eliminate that intersection of seams that meet right where you are putting your torso on the bike seat and many come padded. Pressure and friction can make this area really uncomfortable when cycling longer distances. Cycling shorts (worn without underwear) can significantly improve your comfort.

7. Do a dry run on the weekend. If you’re nervous about how much time it will take you to get to work, do a dry run on the weekend. Friday, May 18th is almost two weeks away giving you plenty of time for a trial run. Ride at an easy pace, knowing that if you were in a bind for time, you could pick up the pace.

8. Find routes with minimal traffic. We only have so many routes to get from Point A to Point B in Akwesasne, but some roads are busier than others. It may lengthen your commute some, but finding roads that aren’t as busy might be worth your time.

9. Learn how to change a flat. Or have someone ready to assist if you have trouble riding in. Or be most resourceful and learn how to change a flat tire yourself (if you already don’t know how).

10. Carry a cell phone and call for help if you have significant mechanical trouble.

If you have time to change a flat tire or deal with other mechanical issues on the way into work, fine. If you’re pinched for time, call someone to give you a lift. There’s a good chance you’re on the road well before anyone else, so it’s likely that a co-worker will come your way - and not stop for you. Make plans ahead of time.

11. Take your clothes to work the day before you commute. If you plan to change from cycling clothes to work clothes when you commute, bring your clothes to work the day before your ride.

12. Strategize your clean up time before work. I can’t think of a workplace that has a shower in Akwesasne. Be resourceful and use a wash cloth and soap in the restroom to give yourself a “spit bath”.

After you scheme up strategies to be successful on that first commute, you might find yourself wanting more. Create a bike community for like-minded family and friends. Try a triathlon, or train for the AFS Survival Race, the possibilities are unlimited. Enjoy your ride!


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