We all know that May is the month of spring flowers coaxed to bloom by April showers—but you may not know that May also happens to be National Bike Month! Now that you’re up to speed, here are a few reasons to start biking in Burlington and celebrate all month long, and some resources to help you roll right into summer!
The Benefits of Biking for Individuals and Communities
It goes without saying that biking is FUN! What else can make you feel like a kid again so easily? But now we’ve got the data to prove what cyclists have long known: that biking is also a great way to stay healthy and happy!
Biking can provide a great aerobic workout that helps burn calories, build muscles, strengthen bones, and enhance endurance and balance, according to Harvard Health Publishing —all while minimizing the stress to joints that is associated with many other types of exercise. Not enough motivation for you to start pedaling? Consider this: researchers at the University of California, Davis, recently found that of all transportation modes, bicyclists reported the highest quality commutes— meaning the least stressful and most enjoyable way to get to work or around town was by bike!
Research conducted by Clemson University and the University of Pennsylvania supports the finding that bicyclists are the happiest commuters. According to a 2014 study, researchers “Were able to determine the average mood felt by people during different types of travel — and the demeanor of cyclists was significantly better than car drivers, passengers or public transit riders.” If you work with any bike commuters, or ride yourself, chances are this comes as no surprise to you.
Even better, biking is also an extremely cost-effective way to get around. According to AAA, the average annual cost of owning a personal vehicle such as a car or SUV is over $8,000! Bikes, on the other hand, can be bought for as little as a few hundred dollars, with annual average maintenance costs of only about $100 or so.
Need more convincing? Biking is also a great way to help improve community livability and environmental health. As an emission-free commute mode, cyclists help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, while curbing contaminates that degrade air quality and impair our lakes and streams. Cyclists also help reduce traffic congestion, making everyone’s commute a little better, all while further improving our local environment.
Local Biking Resources
So now that you understand the significant benefits of biking, how can you get started here in Chittenden County? Fortunately, Burlington and the surrounding communities have lots of great resources for cyclists of all stripes—from beginners to experts, and day-trippers to everyday commuters.
A great introduction to our local biking resources is The Burlington / Island Line Bike Path. With nearly 8 miles of paved pathway along the scenic Burlington and Colchester waterfront, and with upgrades continuing into 2018, there isn’t a more pleasant way to get around the Lake Champlain shoreline. In the warmer months, you can even take this path all the way out to the Champlain Islands by hopping on Local Motion’s bike ferry.
Don’t own a bike? No Problem! The state’s first public bikeshare system, Greenride Bikeshare, just launched in Burlington, Winooski and South Burlington, with plans to expand into surrounding communities! For just a few bucks (or a $50 annual membership), you can hop on one of the 100+ 7-speed bikes from one of the 15+ hubs sprinkled across the region. Even better: Later this summer electric-assist bikes will be added to this fleet.
Finally, we have a team of incredible local non-profits to help you access the area’s bike amenities at whatever level of interest you may have. For employers, employees and residents, CATMA (the Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association) is a one-stop-shop for comprehensive incentive programs and services to enhance commute options. CATMA’s website offers many resources, including this handy online transportation map to help you plan your biking and multi-modal trips. As a CATMA Member, Cambrian Rise residents have access to CATMA’s programs and services!
Local Motion is a leader in promoting, supporting and advocating for biking in Chittenden County. In addition to offering waterfront bike rentals (including a Cargo Bike!) and educational workshops, Local Motion can help with your purchase of a bike rack, and also publishes a helpful regional bike map that you can take with you on your ride.
Old Spokes Home is another great local resource for cyclists. OSH also offers educational workshops, provides bike repairs, and manages an incredible program that lets qualified commuters purchase a bike for as little as $25!
Breakdown and need a bike mechanic to meet you? Try Cowbell Mobile Bike Shop. The area is also home to a number of brick-and-mortar bike shops that can provide longer-term rentals, help with repairs or hook you up with some new wheels.
Ride Into Bike Month
With all of these incredible benefits for you and the community, and with access to such great local resources, the only question is, “What are you waiting for?” May is a great time to hop back on a bike and ride into a happy, healthy, and prosperous summer! See you out there!
Brendan Atwood is the Business Development Specialist at CATMA.
Farrell Properties is working increasingly closely with CATMA to bring alternative transportation options to Farrell residents throughout the greater Burlington area.
Published: Apr 30, 2018. Updated January 4th, 2019