Earlier this week, a number of local bicycling, environment and pedestrian advocates joined up to start planning Bike To Work Week 2008. Several local bloggers were among them, myself included. The month of May is Bike Month, and The League of American Bicyclists recommends for 2008 that the week of May 12-16 be set aside as a National Bike To Work Week.
Although LAB recommends it, it’s up to advocates and volunteers in every community to take action and organize the events. Obviously, individuals that know about it can simply opt to use their bike that week. Without people spreading the word, not many people outside the advocacy community would really know about it. May 12 sounds like a long ways off, but it’s a lot closer than you woud expect.
While plans are still in the brainstorming phase for Bike To Work Week in Kansas City, I can say that some interesting things are already lined up. Advocates sponsor a challenge the same week as BTWW to commute and run as many errands as possible without a car. The focus of this challenge is being broadened from bicycle commuting for your job to really get people to use any kind of alternative transportation for all kinds of trips including errands, meals, and to recreation destinations such as going to the movies.
Last year, the BTWW planning committee had events running not only during the week, but for both weekends surrounding it. This included partnering with Sustainable Sanctuary Coalition to get the word out to faith communities for worship events during May. Bicycle shops sponsored give-aways, cities and advocates sponsored breakfasts for car-free commuters, and there was an epic wrap-up party at a local brewery where participants shared stories, prizes were awarded for the various contests, and a good time was shared by all. Lining up events, rallying for volunteers, and getting organizations to get behind it is no small task. If there’s a Bike To Work Week schedule of events in your area, you should consider volunteering.
During the initial meeting this week, it was amazing to see all the committee members who actually had their first bike commuting experience as part of a Bike To Work Week event. Some as recently as last year, others from several years ago. Yesterday, Tim challenged us to get more people on bikes. Volunteering to help your local bicycling advocates prepare for Bike To Work Week is a great way to start. Now is the time.
Is there a locally-organized Bike To Work Week where you are? If so, what kinds of events do they plan? How many of you had your first commute by bike as part of one of these events?