PODCAST: Bike to Work Day: Cycling not just for recreation

(OHIO NEWS CONNECTION) – Today is National Bike to Work Day, and while it may sound “easier said than done,” it may not be as daunting as you think.

Enthusiasts said the benefits of commuting by bicycle outweigh the drawbacks. Besides saving money on gasoline and vehicle expenses, research suggests it can increase productivity on the job by improving cognitive performance and lowering stress.

Chuck Smith, chair of the Ohio Bicycle Federation who lives in Vandalia, logged more than 50,000 miles in 22 years on his bike commuting to his job at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He explained there are more than 300 miles of connected paths in the region, which makes cycling a practical way to get around.

“Got out early in the morning and I had a good hill to go down,” Smith recounted. “On a chilly morning, if that didn’t wake me up, nothing would. And then the Great Miami Trail I took on the way home from work. It improved my outlook. Just a wonderful thing.”

For especially long commutes, advocates suggest mixing biking with public transit.

Nationally about 0.5% of workers ride a bike to work, and 20% of all bicycling trips are to “earn a living.” Lack of sidewalks and paths, traffic volume and speed and unsafe motorist are the top barriers to biking for most Ohioans.

Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.

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