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Published on May 08, 2018

woman biking to work

#TryItTuesday: Bike to Work Day

Two years before our youngest daughter graduated from high school, I remember looking at my hubby and stating, “In two years we’ll be empty nesters. Let’s find a hobby we both love to do together. This way when our youngest leaves for college, we have something fun to do.”

That summer, we decided to skip going on a summer vacation, and instead invested in new bikes, helmets and biking gloves. We were set to hit the bike trails. Six years later, biking continues to be one of our favorite activities.

Biking is a great cardio workout. Also, cycling strengthens your legs, hips and glutes. One of my favorite reasons for biking ... I can sit and exercise! (LOL!) I find biking easier and gentler on my knees and back compared to running, tennis or circuit training.

Areas It Targets

  • Core: Yes
  • Arms: No
  • Legs: Yes
  • Glutes: Yes
  • Back: No
  • Type
  • Flexibility: No
  • Aerobic: Yes
  • Strength: Yes
  • Low-Impact: Yes. Cycling doesn't put stress on your joints.
  • Equipment required:  Bike (in some cities you can rent a bike), bike helmet
  • Good for beginners? Yes. Even if you haven’t biked in years, you can get right back on again.
  • Outdoors: Yes
  • At home: Yes, if you have a stationary bike.

Intensity Level: High

This year, National Bike to Work Week 2018 will be held from May 14–18. Bike to Work Day is May 18.

A few years back, when I was commuting to Sioux Falls, I remember wanting to ride my bike to work. However, I didn't feel comfortable riding my bike on the roads especially during the busy morning commute.

I really wanted to ride my bike to work, so I came up with an alternative solution. I found a parking lot near the bike trails that was about 2 miles from my work location. Whenever it worked in the schedule, I'd load my bike on our car's bike rack, drive to the bike trail, park my car, unload my bike, grab my backpack that had my change of clothing and necessary toiletries, and pedal my way to work.

Although it was a little extra work, this was a great way to start my day. Also, I found the bike ride back to my car after work helped decrease the stresses that had built up throughout my workday.

For me, biking to work is a great way to squeeze in regular exercise among job, volunteer and family commitments.

Tips from the League of American Bicyclists

  • Before starting to ride your bike, make sure to have your bike checked by your local bike shop.
  • Protect your head – ALWAYS wear a helmet.
  • When riding on the road, ride in the right-most lane that goes in the direction that you are traveling.
  • Obey all stop signs, traffic lights and lane markings.
  • Look before you change lanes or signal a turn, indicate your intention, then act.
  • Be visible and predictable at all times; wear bright clothing and signal turns.

Before I started commuting by bike, I did have a few concerns:

  • I was out of shape. For me, this one was easy to overcome, because I can bike at my own pace. The longer I commuted, the stronger I got.
  • I wondered if I could ride my bike the entire 2 miles. To combat this fear, the weekend prior to commuting, I rode the route I was planning on taking.
  • I was worried that commuting by bike would take too much time. After I got used to the routine, I found that commuting by bike almost took the same amount of time as commuting by car.
  • Another concern of mine was that my bike would be stolen. I worked with our human resource department for a safe option.

If you have an opportunity to bike to work on May 18, try it! You may just find a new way to squeeze exercise into your daily routine.

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