Grand Junction offers a place of beauty and diverse landscapes nestled in the Grand Valley between the Bookcliffs, Colorado National Monument and Grand Mesa. There’s so much to see in our backyards. What better way to experience it than riding a bike? June is Colorado Bike Month and constitutes an excellent way to celebrate the splendor of the terrain while benefiting both your health and pocketbook.
Bike Month is part of an effort to encourage everyone to ride their bikes to work, on errands and for recreation. With 22 miles of Riverfront Trail, bike lanes and low-traffic side streets, it’s easy to get just about anywhere in our community by putting the pedal to the metal.
Many activities and challenges take place throughout June to encourage people to leave their vehicles parked and pedal instead. Events include the commuter challenge ongoing throughout the month and business challenge on Bike to Work Day set for June 28. Last year, 20 local businesses participated in the challenge, each competing for a chance to display one of four traveling trophies for the year. The business challenge offers a great way to engage in some friendly, fun competition with other businesses in the community. Challenge your employees to bike to work on June 28.
Biking provides more than just a fun way to get to work, though. Biking also provides many perks to employers and employee alike.
A bicycle is essentially a gym on wheels. Riding a bike to work affords an opportunity for people of all fitness levels to add physical activity to their daily routines. Countless studies have shown that businesses with more physically active employees report fewer sick days, lower turnover and increased productivity. Turning a commute into active time also could lead to reductions in health care costs. Time can present a barrier for many to exercise outside of work. So using exercise as a means of transportation offers a good way to incorporate physical activity into the day.
Biking to work can shorten your commute. According to the Partnership for Active Transportation, trips of less than 3 miles are faster by bike. Trips of 5 miles to 7 miles are estimated to take the same amount of time that it would by motor vehicle. Since time is money, getting to your destination as quickly as possible by way of bicycle makes sense.
Pedaling to work offers economic benefits, including lower costs for fuel and automotive maintenance and repairs. Biking has positive effects on tourism, sales and the manufacturing of bicycles as well as increased productivity at the workplace. Active transportation can also lead to increased property values and retail activity. Plus, employers who provide support for bicycle commuting can deduct up to $20 a month per participating employee from their taxable incomes. The bike benefit also reimburses commuters up to $20 a month for qualifying expenses, according to the National Center for Transit Research.
Give yourself the gift of cleaner air. Bikes require no fuel, use less energy to manufacture than a car and don’t need toxic batteries or motor oil. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that every mile biked equates to a reduction of nearly a pound of carbon dioxide emissions.
Of course, cycling season extends far beyond June. With more than 300 days of sunshine in the Grand Valley, biking to work constitutes an option for most people most of the year. Use June to kick start a new method of active transportation and celebrate your health and wealth all year long.
For more information on how to sign up for challenges and stay up to date with Colorado Bike Month events in Mesa County, visit www.healthymesacounty.org.