Thursday, May 1, 2014

May Is - When Bikes Help Blood Pressure And Clean Air

Each month there are different causes, awareness efforts, or celebrations that are named and promoted. Often there are a few that work well together, whether planned or not. That is the case with May which, among other promotions, is National Bike Month, National High Blood Pressure Awareness Month and National Clean Air Month. To me these go together so well because by the simple act of biking more you can address the two other issues of reducing your blood pressure and helping keep our air clean with less vehicle emissions.

There are lots of resources I could quote or link to to support the many benefits of getting out on your bike whether as a casual ride, exercise, or even as your primary means of transportation. But, whether some want to admit it or not, they all are pretty obvious so I'll leave it to you to accept it. Instead, since this is a Milwaukee blog, I want to do my own list of why you should get out on your bike here.

There are great organizations in Milwaukee and Wisconsin promoting bicycling like the Wisconsin Bike Fed and the Friends of the Hank Aaron State Trail. Look for their events going on this month and likely their own lists of reasons why to bike. But, without further adieu, here is my list of why to bike in Milwaukee:

  • Parking is free.
  • Road construction. If going downtown (like to work this year for Bike to Work Week) from the north or west and can take the Oak Leaf or Hank Aaron trail to downtown the ride is much smoother.
  • Transfer restaurant, and probably some others, offer specials to people who bike in (Wed 20% off at Transfer)
  • Slow down and actually see the Greatness of Milwaukee.
  • Like, the lakefront.
  • The Estabrook Beer Garden is right off the Oak Leaf Trail. So is the newer The Landing beer garden at Hoyt Park for that matter.
  • You never know who you will see or meet on a bike - at above beer garden bike rack I retrieved my bike at the same time as David Byrne, yes THAT David Byrne he was there the day before his show with St. Vincent. 
  • Bikes are just plain cool, see above.
  • Further proof, We used to have the Fat Tire Tour de Fat, last year we didn't get one but still got their film festival - the Clips Beer & Film Tour which will be here this year again.
  • Bikes literally power the Rock the Green festival.
  • Destination outside your range? Maybe you want to start farther out and go farther? MCTS buses have bike racks so throw your bike on and get to whatever starting point you want then go from there.
I hope one or more of these are inspiration for you to get out on a bike. There are many other great reasons out there, if you have your own cool things about bikes and Milwaukee please add in the comments below and help spread the word.

One note, for those of you not on a bike, please be aware that - though you may have seen the occasional dedicated biker riding through winter - this marks the start of an increased number of bicyclists on the road. Please respect their rights. And of course bikers respect them as well.

Finally, I need to give a shout out to other two-wheelers - motorcyclists. As a motorcycle rider myself I firmly believe that two wheels are better than four regardless if motorized or not. Motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters have many of the same benefits and advantages as bicycles- minus the health benefits of doing the motoring yourself. Whereas a highly fuel efficient car can get near 50 mpg that is standard for even the biggest bikes and on a scooter or small cc bike you can approach 100. Maintenance is cheaper, impact on the environment whether emissions or road wear is less. I could go on.

To summarize, two wheels are better, cooler, Greater than four. Ditch the extra two wheels and make yourself and the world better.