The number of people commuting by bicycle has increased by 60 percent over the past decade, according to new data published by the U.S. Census last week, and includes, among others, LeBron James, who says he rides to Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena regularly for his job. Not that you have to be the world's greatest athlete to pedal to work.
This Friday—National Bike to Work Day—sponsored locally by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, will be celebrated in Baltimore City and the surrounding area at 28 destinations, offering coffee, bagels, and often a little bike schwag to boot from about 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Even better, you get to rub elbows with fellow bicycle commuters before work.
The full listing of Baltimore area "pit stops"—including 16 around the city—can be found here. Registration is free.
On Friday, City Councilman Bill Cole will be biking to work, meeting other riders at Sharp and Henrietta streets in Otterbein/Federal Hill for a cruise over to City Hall where Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will be speaking at 9 a.m.
In League of American Bicyclists' "bicycle-friendly" cities—meaning those places like Baltimore that have demonstrated a commitment to improving bike infrastructure and encouraging bicycle commuting—bike rider rates have increased by 80 percent. Overall, Portland ranks first in the percentage people bicycling to work at 6.1 percent, followed by Madison (5.1 percent), Minneapolis (4.1 percent), Boise (3.7 percent), Seattle (3.4 percent), San Francisco (3.4 percent), and Washington, D.C. (3.1 percent.) In Baltimore, the percentage of bicycle commuters jumped from .3 percent in the 2000 census to .8 percent in the 2012 census.
The Baltimore Metropolitan Council promotes Bike to Work Day as part of its "Clean Commute" initiative, noting on its website that "emissions from single occupancy vehicles contribute significantly to our region's dangerous ozone levels."