Lessons from Bike Month

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The month of May was National Bike Month and we had some superstars pedaling to, from, and around campus! Many cyclists created teams and competed in The Commute Challenge from Cascade Bicycle Club. They were able to log their miles with Luum, a commute management program. We talked with five of this year’s competitors to hear their thoughts and advice on bike commuting.

The team component of this challenge was the key to success for many of the cyclists. Here are some inspiring thoughts on teamwork and motivation:

 “Overall, it’s been very solitary riding as a bike commuter, and this Bike Month event is a fun way to make this activity more communal; it certainly has made biking a social activity for me. It’s pleasant to feel appreciated as a cyclist through this challenge, and whenever I got on my bike during this month, I felt like I was doing other people a favor (my team, the bike-month organizers, the large community of 15,000 participants in this bike-month team challenge).”
– Miriam Meister, Ph.D., Physiology and Biophysics Department

A member of my team talked me into climbing the Inverness hill for a fantastic view of Lake Washington (and great landscaping). I saw rises of 22% grade, which is the most I have ever done. Without the team rides I would never have done this ride.”
–Anonymous rider

Depending on where you live and the trails available to you, you may have a different commute than your coworkers. These participants shared stories about their routes:

“I have a 5-mile commute from Ballard to UW, most of which is along the Burke. I love riding along the ship canal in Fremont, especially where it opens up and you can see Lake Union. This is the spot where my fiancé proposed to me two years ago, between the two bridges, so I hold a particular fondness for it in my heart. Not to mention that riding by Theo’s chocolate factory when they’re roasting cocoa beans is an indescribable joy to the senses — it’s like breathing in hot chocolate.”
– Sarah Nelson, BS, MPH, Institute for Public Health Genetics

“Here is my route. Google says 54 minutes, but it usually takes me about 40. I could go along Lake Washington Blvd., which is very scenic, but the lack of a shoulder or even bike lane makes it not so much fun during rush hour, when everyone is truly in a rush and drives like maniacs. I have also been on the BG Trail at rush hour, and that’s pretty crazy these days also!”
– Andrew Davidson, Human-Centered Design & Engineering

Lastly, we asked for tips for new riders. So for all of you thinking about trying bike commuting for the first time, here are some thoughts:

“My tip for new riders is to ride defensively. Not scared, mind you, but ride in a way that no one (someone walking, someone driving a car) could fault you or tell some nasty story about you later. Most people in their cars are very happy to share the road with cyclists, but don’t assume that to be the case. Help give people who ride bikes keep a good reputation, and be considerate! Follow the rules of the road. “Use voice or bell when passing” on the BG Trail, even if the person is wearing headphones.”
– Sarah Nelson, BS, MPH, Institute for Public Health Genetics

“Take it slow – stay off of busy streets until you know what you are doing. Watch out for cars – especially car doors. Don’t be tentative; always commit. Also, some great stores to purchase cycling gear are Recycled Cycles, Hello Bike, Bike So Good, and REI.”
– Peter IC Lang, MS, CIH, Research & Occupational Safety

HCDE Bike Team

Hello Happy Cyclists Do Everything team at a bonding activity!


Be sure to take advantage of Washington’s beautiful summer months and ride as much as you can. Check out one of our previous articles for great biking resources and discounts. Let us know if you have any great stories, thoughts, or tips on bike commuting!