Anytime is a great time to ride, but May especially so, because it's National Bike Month, a nationwide celebration of cycling and the bicycle. National Bike Month promotes bicycling as a healthy, environmentally-friendly, and fun alternative to driving. Whether you ride for fitness, commuting, or utility, there's an event during National Bike Month that's probably perfect for you!
History of National Bike Month
First, a quick history lesson. National Bike Month was created back in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists (it was the "League of American Wheelmen" back then!) and has grown in the decades that followed.
The League, a non-profit organization that advocates for biking as a means of promoting health, sustainability, and community, started the event to promote cycling and increase its popularity. Today, in 2023, National Bike Month is recognized by federal, state, and local governments, and by organizations and individuals across the country.
Why was National Bike Month created?
National Bike Month was created to raise awareness of cycling as a means of transportation and recreation. Cycling has numerous benefits, both for individuals and for society as a whole. Biking is a low-impact form of exercise that improves cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles, and reduces stress. It’s also an eco-friendly mode of transportation that reduces carbon emissions and helps alleviate traffic congestion. Additionally, cycling is a cost-effective alternative to driving that can save individuals money on gas, maintenance, and parking.
Events During National Bike Month
National Bike Month is a month-long celebration that includes a variety of events and activities for cyclists of all levels. From organized rides to educational workshops, there’s something for everyone during National Bike Month. For a full list, check the League of American Bicyclist's master calendar.
Here are some of the most popular events that take place:
Bike to Work Week
Held from May 15 to May 21 in 2023, Bike to Work Week is a week-long celebration of cycling to work. The event encourages people to leave their cars at home and commute to work by bike instead. Bike to Work Week is a great way to promote cycling as a viable means of transportation and to build camaraderie among cyclists.
If you've got an eBike, Bike to Work Week can take on a different meaning, because an eBike can allow you to arrive at work without breaking a sweat, if you choose. While many riders choose to ride for exercise, that may not be a fit for everyone. For example, you might need to ride in dress clothing or go right from your commute into a group meeting. An eBike can allow you to make that trip with minimal physical effort on the way to work, but still provide a workout on the way back home!
Have you got "range anxiety" ? It's normal and expected to be concerned about whether an eBike has enough range to get you to and from work. Check our eBike range calculator to estimate how long you'll be able to ride between charges, and if you've got an extra-long commute, consider charging your eBike during the day so it's topped off for the evening commute.
Bike to Work Day
The pinnacle of Bike to Work Week is Bike to Work Day, which takes place on Friday, May 19. Bike to Work Day is a national event that encourages people to commute to work by bike and celebrates the benefits of cycling.
Many cities and towns across the country host events and activities on Bike to Work Day, such as breakfast stations, bike safety classes, and group rides. It's pretty common to be able to pick up free donuts or coffee on Bike to Work Day, and some employers will even give you a free hot breakfast or special bicycle parking when you arrive! Check with your human resources office for information, and consider starting your own Bike to Work Day at your office, if they don't have one already.
Bike and Roll to School Day
In addition to encouraging commuting to the workplace, National Bike Month also has special events for students and educators who ride to school. There's an entire website where you can register, plan, and help create a Bike and Roll to School Day in your community: https://www.walkbiketoschool.org/
Many communities host group rides during National Bike Month. These rides are a great way to meet other cyclists and explore the local area. Some community rides are organized by local bike shops or cycling clubs, while others are organized by city or county governments.
For example, the city of Portland, Oregon is hosting a "Pedalpalooza" event, which features a month-long series of community rides, bike tours, and other cycling events throughout May.
Bike maintenance clinics and seminars
There's more than just riding! During National Bike Month, you can also learn more about how to maintain your bike. Plenty of bike shops and local clubs offer free workshops during the entire month.
For example, the Bike House in Tempe, Arizona is hosting a weekly series of bike maintenance workshops on May 7th, May 14th, and May 21st, and that's just one of many local events. Contact a local bike shop near you to find more events like this.
Bike safety classes
Bike safety is crucial for all cyclists. Many organizations offer bike safety classes during National Bike Month to teach cyclists how to ride safely and confidently on the road. Bike safety classes cover topics such as traffic laws, signaling, and hazard avoidance.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is offering a series of bike safety classes throughout May, including a "Women Bike PHL" workshop on May 10th. Again, check the calendar, because there's almost certainly a similar event near you!
What are the benefits of participating in National Bike Month?
Participating in National Bike Month has numerous benefits for individuals and communities alike. Here are some of the top benefits of cycling and participating in National Bike Month events:
Cycling is a great form of exercise that improves cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles, and reduces stress. Regular cycling can help individuals maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Cycling is an eco-friendly mode of transportation that reduces carbon emissions and helps alleviate traffic congestion.
Savings on fuel
Gas, insurance, and parking expenses can really add up. You can operate an eBike for just a tiny fraction of the cost of owning and operating an automobile. Even if you aren't ready to replace all your car trips with bicycle trips, switching over just some of them can still be impactful on your budget.