February / March / April 2015 Issue

Coop News Bike image Feb 2015

Bicycling is Good for your Heart!
Join the Bicycle Commuter Contest! As an Olympia Food Co-op member, shopper or staffer, you are likely interested in enhancing your own health and well-being as well as that of our community and planet. Choosing locally produced and organic foods is a healthy choice. Another great way we can benefit our personal and community well-being is to make the same kind of healthy choices about how we get around as we do about what we eat! Studies show that people who choose to bike or walk to work, school or on errands are happier, healthier and live longer! Our community, with its relatively small size and moderate climate, is especially well suited to active forms of transportation like biking or walking (or combining either one with public transit).

There are some challenges to changing our transportation habits, but it can be more do-able than you might think, especially with the support of others. The annual Bicycle Commuter Contest is a fun community event that encourages Thurston County residents of all ages and abilities to try bicycling as a means of transportation. Participating in the “BCC” is a great way to find the support you may need as a beginning “practical cyclist”, or to join the fun and be counted if you are an old hand. The Bicycle Commuter Contest office is open January through June, to help you find the information and support you might need to get started. Contact dgreen@intercitytransit.com, call 360-705-5874 or visit http://www.bccblog.com/ for more information or to register online. “Register in April, Ride in May” in the BCC!

Most trips by car are less than five miles, and a five mile trip takes only a few minutes longer by bike than by car. There are many individual as well as community health benefits to “practical cycling”. Biking is a great way to combine daily exercise with getting where you need to go. Biking improves the livability of our communities by reducing traffic and parking congestion. Biking instead of driving protects groundwater and Puget Sound, and reduces danger to pets and wildlife. By biking, we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, easing the pressures of international conflict over resources as well as harm to the environment from energy development. We can save a lot of money, and to top it off, getting around by bike or on foot is relaxing, invigorating and FUN!

Some past BCC participants have this to say about their experiences:

“I’ve been bicycle commuting year-round for 6.5 years now. I love it!!! I love the fact that I’m out in nature every day and I love that I don’t have to find time to exercise.”

“I commute 7 miles each way, and since I don’t have to deal with parking or traffic, it actually takes just about as much time as driving would. But even if it took longer, I wouldn’t trade my bicycle commute for a car. Add the extra time you’d have to schedule for exercise, the money saved on gas and car maintenance, and just the sheer joy of daily fresh air, and you come out ahead anyway.”

“Participating in the BCC has been a life style change for me! I enjoy being out in the environment, seeing the sights, sounds and smells via bike. It feels good getting places via my own womanpower while reducing my reliance on fossil fuel. I forgot how much fun riding is! Thank you Bicycle Commuter Contest!”

“I do feel my overall health is better as a result of participating (I am continuing to bike). I’m also more aware of cyclists when I am driving my vehicle.”

“We love riding and it’s especially rewarding during the Bicycle Commuter Contest because of the support and camaraderie within the community.”

“The coupons are great. I’ve used several already and saved a lot of money by using them. This was the first year I was on a team and that helped motivate me to ride.”

“This is the first year that we participated and we loved it! It really made us commute on our bikes more than we had been and now we ride our bikes more frequently. Thanks for a wonderful program!”

BCC Event info:

  • Earth Day Market Ride on Saturday, April 18
  • Wrenchers’ Ball on Friday, May 1 with mechanics providing free bicycle safety checks
  • National Bike-to-Work and School Day on Friday, May 15 with “Bike Stations” around town.

Written By Duncan Green, 30-year OFC member