Commentary: Feel the Love This Winter Bike to Work Day
Winter Bike to Work Day is coming up on Friday, February 14 — Valentine’s Day. To many, “winter biking” sounds like an oxymoron. To me, it is pure love.
When Denverites hit the streets by bike, we commit an act of love. Love for our planet, our city, our neighborhoods, our families and, yes, ourselves. From micro to macro, we care — and we are willing to bundle up to prove it.
Whether or not you are riding solo this Valentine’s Day, there is no better way to care for yourself than to hop on your bicycle. Myriad health benefits of bicycling include building muscle and increasing bone density. It is also a great cardiovascular workout, which benefits your brain and blood vessels while getting your heart pumping with more than love. Cognition and mood also improve for many who choose to bike, and they are likely to live longer, too.
I love cycling with my family. We value bicycling for all the health benefits listed above, but it is also a great way for us to exercise outside together while having fun and even running errands! We have found creative ways to get groceries, grab pizza, take in a show, and get to and from school so that we all get a little more time enjoying the outdoors — and I get a break from backseat bickering in the car.
We cycle as a family primarily in our neighborhood, and I love saying hello to my neighbors as we ride to local business for snacks, coffee, dry cleaning, or to our local public park or library. I’m not alone: bicyclists contribute more dollars to local economies than drivers, even if they spend less per trip. At each of my destinations, there is one more parking spot for my neighbor who drives, and I don’t have to struggle searching for parking. It’s a win-win for neighborly love.
I was born and raised just south of Denver, and I have a special love for my city and state. It has been my home for decades. When I ride my bicycle, I am showing love for my home by keeping the air a little bit cleaner and the roads in better condition. Not only is my bicycle quiet, it is light and nimble, which poses minimal safety risk to my fellow Coloradans. From 2015-2018 in Colorado, 304 fatal crashes in which a person walking died involved a driver of a vehicle. Zero pedestrian fatalities involved bike riders.
My love doesn’t end at state lines, though. Every time I ride my bike, I’m caring not only for my own children, but for future generations around the world. The old adage to “think globally, act locally” holds more wisdom than ever before with catastrophically high temperatures projected within this decade. Of course, I don’t think that my bike ride today will save the world. But it is one more thing I can do to buy humanity some time. If we all do what we can, every living thing on Earth will breathe easier, live healthier, and keep on loving for generations to come.
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