J500 Media and the Environment

All Hail Helmet Hair by jseverin

Like most kids, I grew up riding my bike around town for exercise, entertainment, or an excuse to get out of the house. If I really wanted to go somewhere, I’d hop in the car. Now pushing 30, I’m still pretty dependent on the automobile, but I’m finding a new use for that bike. In order to reduce my environmental impact and save a few dollars at the gas pump, I’ve been trying to wean myself from motorized transport. I started out by biking just on errands but quickly became an occasional commuter with the goal of riding at least once or twice a week.

According to US Census Bureau data, I’m joining the 1.3% of Lawrencians who enjoy a good ride on their way to and from work. That’s right, just 1.3%. Although that’s more than any other community in Kansas, it seems like we could be doing better in a state that is as flat as a pancake.

So why aren’t there more riders out there? The financial, environmental, and health benefits of riding speak for themselves. There are plenty of flat (or mostly flat) bike routes throughout the city. And, while I admit that at first I was intimidated by cyclists in their brightly colored shirts and spandex, I’ve discovered that there is plenty of room on the road for the average Joe in a suit and tie. Even the few drawbacks (I occasionally arrive at work with a case of helmet hair and a little sweat on my back) can easily be solved by packing a clean shirt and a can of pomade. There are really no good excuses not to give it a try.

flickr/Bike Portland

Why not dust off the bike that has been hanging in the garage and hop on? Take a few tips from local bikers or one of the many great online resources and join others who are making 2008 the Year of the Bike. Just remember to keep an extra stick of deodorant in your desk drawer at work.

– Jeff


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