Bike to Work Day Primer

Bike to Work Day is this Friday (May 17) and you can still sign up here. If you don't sign up, you can still bike to work, but then you can't wait in line to pick up a t-shirt that you'll almost never wear, except for maybe on next year's Bike to Work Day. I would encourage longtime participants in Bike to Work Day to wear all of their collected t-shirts on Friday, one atop the other, thereby forming a mille-feuille of fluorescent cotton and sweat. Or you could alternatively wear whatever you'd like because sartorial decisions are best handled by the individual who must deal with the repercussions of those decisions. I don't think it'd be fair for you to have weather the criticism of my fashion choices (bolo tie, jorts, wingtips) just because we both happen to be riding bicycles. My decisions of comportment are my own and yours and yours and it would be both fallacious and wrong to judge the fashion sense of you or the entirety of the group of participants of Bike to Work Day based the silly outfit I might choose to wear. Certainly, the aesthetic offensiveness of my clothing choices would reflect poorly on me, but I bet you'd be greatly offended if someone suggested that there couldn't be snappy dressers among us due to my garishness. Bike to Work Day riders, after all, are a rather multifarious group and drawing conclusions about all of them based on the wacky outfits of one of them wouldn't seem to be sound. Would it be reasonable to suggest that my clothes are giving all cyclists a bad name (in eyes of Beau Brummell and Mr. Blackwell)? Does it make us all look terrible? Or just me?

In totally unrelated news, this was written and so was this.

I have a few suggestions for the initiated and uninitiated participants in Bike to Work Day and I'd like to share them with you. They are in no particular order:

  • Cycling is dangerous and miserable and should be avoided at all costs. Consider driving instead.
  • Don't ever trust the first tip in a list of tips. It's normally a joke and you should wait until at least the third tip before the more serious stuff starts, assuming that the serious stuff won't actually just be "serious"
  • Have fun. But, make sure your fun allows everyone else to have fun too. One of the surest ways to preclude someone else's fun is by riding like a jerk. That normally means riding too fast or passing too closely. Of the many, many, many days when you can really "drop the hammer" or "other sporty-sounding thing for go real fast," Bike to Work Day isn't one of them. So take a moderate pace and have a good time. Also, if your version of fun involves racing other bike commuters, make sure that it's their version of fun as well. I suspect it frequently won't be. 
  • Join a convoy- they're not just for truckers! CB radios totally optional. 
  • Stop at a pit stop for pitting and such! Pit stops are also where you can pick up your Bike to Work Day loot. Have you given thought to how you'll carry that loot? Will you bring a bag? Will you bury it and return later, perhaps with the help of a treasure map? THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU NEED TO BE THINKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW. 
  • Don't overplan. It's just biking to work. 
  • Get political? All politics, like all bike to work days, is local, so they say. 
  • Use a bike! If you don't have a bike, you can rent a bike FREE OF CHARGE from our good friends at Bike and Roll
  • Reconsider Bikeshare. It might work out or it might not. Some docks are empty (or full) on normal days and the increased usage on Bike to Work Day might result in your being sorely disappointed. Use your own bike (or rent one for free from Bike and Roll). 
  • Take a lot of pictures and use Instagram to make them look all dramatic. It's important to document the day for future historians. Always think about the future historians. 
  • Get through it and think about Monday. If you're new the bike commuting game, see how Friday goes and think about how you might want to (or not) continue to incorporate bike commuting in your quiver of commuting arrows. Also, think about how archery metaphors could be used in future bike commuting blog posts. 
  • Have fun. I said that, but it's worth repeating. If you want to be a dour and miserable, I suggest traveling by other means. 
So, that's that. I'll probably be at Freedom Plaza on Friday, so maybe you'll see me there. Have a great few days and remember to put out cookies and lugs for Grant-a Claus on Bike to Work Day eve. 

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