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Jonathan Stull | 05.16.2017

As the world’s leading representational democracy, the United States takes seriously the idea of celebrating progressive ideals that serve the best interests of the people. National Garlic Day. National High Five Day.

Buried among these is the penultimate national day, and it comes each year on May 19. We all can understand the importance of personal health and wellbeing, the preservation of the planet, and the promotion of a sustainable economy, and on National Bike to Work Day, you can strike off all three.

When we think of transportation, we tend to think of the automobile and the internal combustion engine. Left behind in the exhaust of those oversized metallic baubles is the humble bicycle—which is, for better or worse, the most dominant form of transportation ever invented. As of the early 2000s, more than twice as many bicycles than automobiles had been produced worldwide, more than one billion. Its rightful place in history has been overshadowed by the convenience of the car, and May 19 is your opportunity to revel in its true glory.

Really, you’re doing yourself and everyone else a favor. Here’s why:

  • Bicycling is the cheapest form of transportation ever designed. It requires no fuel other than what you put in your body, and very little in the way of maintenance. Parts are cheap, easy to come by, and easy to install.
  • It’s low impact. Maintenance of roads and infrastructure costs millions in public funding, and most of that wear and tear comes from cars and trucks. Bicycles, on the other hand, have a slimmer profile. Think of all the tax dollars you’ll save.
  • Bicycling is exercise disguised as a fun, friendly commute. Sure, you could listen to an audiobook on the way to your 9 to 5, or you could do your body a favor and set it loose. In the long term, you will lose weight, lower your resting heart rate and blood pressure, and improve metabolic functions.
  • It protects the environment. You don’t drive when you bike—it’s true. That saves tons of carbon dioxide, among other greenhouse emissions, that would have been released into the atmosphere with each commute.

Bicycling improves quality of life for you and your neighbors, and May 19 is the one day every year when we celebrate and promote an alternative form of transportation that just might figure into a better, more sustainable future. So pull out your bike, put your helmet on, and celebrate National Bike to Work Day!

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