Top Ten Reasons We Bike to Work
Won't You Join Us May 16th - Bike to Work Day
by Mary Wings (Whose latest novel is She Came In Drag)

Bike to Work Day is Tuesday, May 16th, so we took to the streets to ask regular bike commuters why they choose to bike to work. We spoke with more than 50 people at the colorful and hectic corner of 16th and Valencia Streets, where the new bike lanes were teeming with smiling cyclists on a spring morning. We talked to an assortment of people, including internet start-up employees, biotech workers, day laborers, architects, City Hall workers, students, advertising account executives, and a saxophone player. Here are the Top 10 Reasons they bike to work:

  1. FuN! Riders overwhelmingly smiled and said their main reason for biking is that: "It's fun!" "It's social!" "It makes me feel like I'm on vacation!" "Makes me happy to get to work!"
  2. MAS PRONTO! It's faster! was the reason that came in a close second. All riders felt that riding a bike was the fastest way to get to work. "Quicker than mass transit," traffic jams and parking: all made the bicycle the obvious transportation choice for these workers.
  3. Exercise/Health/Less Stress! Who needs a gym? Keeps me in shape! I love to be outside!
  4. Environment. Over and over again riders mentioned the environment. Everyone was happy to be riding a non-polluting device to work: "I don't like using tons of steel and an internal combustion engine to get me around!" "I'm a biology teacher and I want to be a good role model."
  5. Bikes are cheap! What's to say? The high price of gas, parking, car maintenance, upkeep and insurance make the bicycle the cheapest and, in some cases, the only transportation choice available to many commuters.
  6. Hate the car/traffic/parking. No doubt about it, most folks didn't want to be cooped up in cars or have anything to do with the increasingly ugly traffic situation in San Francisco. And who wants to deal with looking for a parking space when we can bike?
  7. Wakes me up! This was a surprise: the act of riding the bike contributed positively to the beginning of the work day for many respondents. "It's the best way to arrive at work: awake and unstressed." Over and over again our riders said biking to work put them in a much better working mode.
  8. New bike lanes. Many people mentioned the new Valencia bike lanes as a reason they now ride to work.
  9. We do it every Friday! I talked to a crowd of biotech workers who were sipping coffee over their handlebars. They bike to South San Francisco from the City en mass every Friday. Maybe the dress-down concept can include a two-wheeler under your feet.
  10. Only way to get over a hangover! One beer drinking rider had found the secret which may get a lot of new people biking to work ! Apparently even after the hottest all-night party, you can leave your house with red eyes and dragon breath, only to arrive at work clear-eyed and level-headed. Hey, there are probably stranger reasons for choosing to bike.

    Other Bike-to-Work Day Articles in this issue: