D.C.’s 150-plus miles of bike lanes and trails make it a bike-friendly city for commuting, exercising and recreation. Every year, goDCgo, an initiative of the District Department of Transportation, hosts a bike campaign to raise awareness of bike facilities in the District and grow D.C.’s bike community. This year’s campaign, Bike Your Way, runs through June 30, and encourages people to take a pledge to bike more than they drive. We talked with Danelle Carey, goDCgo program director, about the Bike Your Way campaign, the benefits of biking and how even the least experienced biker can get involved.
District Fray: Tell me about this year’s goDCgo bike campaign.
Danelle Carey: Over the last year, we had to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. We pivoted our campaign goals to meet people where they are. We know people are at home more often, so we wanted to shift the goal to focus on riding for wellness, recreation and errands, which is why we titled this campaign “Bike Your Way: Go the Distance, Keep Your Distance.” We encourage everybody to join this movement and bike for you, however that suits your lifestyle.
What are the benefits of biking?
Biking is an easy way to stay healthy. The recommended daily exercise is like 30 minutes per day. If you bike for your commute or to the local convenience store, you can easily get that 30 minutes in. Riding a bike emits zero pollutants, and that improves the air quality and quality of life. Pre-pandemic, D.C. had the longest national average car commute. You can get around faster by bike, especially during rush hour. You don’t have to search for parking, so there is another saving associated with biking.
How does biking help with pandemic recovery?
The pandemic has kind of been a gift and a curse. All of a sudden, overnight, there was no traffic. In the same vein, the pandemic created a new momentum for biking to connect people for where they had to go – activities, errands or essential commuting. As people transition back to their work sites, they’re more likely to resume travel by bike because they’ve experienced the benefits and have seen how easy it was to ride during the pandemic.
How can people who don’t own bikes get involved in the Bike Your Way campaign?
People who don’t have bikes can get involved immediately. When they hear about the Bike Your Way campaign, they can take the Pledge to Pedal. What they’ll receive by taking that pledge is information based on their comfort level. For example, if you don’t own a bike and you’ve never ridden a bike before, you can get into some learn-to-ride classes. Also, there is Capital Bikeshare, [with] over 300 stations throughout the District of Columbia that are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A single trip, which is 30 minutes, only costs two dollars, so that’s easily accessible at any time of the day. My tip is to take the Pledge to Pedal, and we will tell you how to take that next step to get on a bike.
What kinds of bike events are happening during the Bike Your Way campaign?
We have a few exciting events to celebrate bike month during our bike campaign. goDCgo and the Saturday Night Bike Club have partnered to host a group bike ride called Sights & Sounds of D.C. It’ll be happening on Saturday, May 15 at 6 p.m., starting at Union Market. It will feature a ride with music by the DMV’s very own local artists, riding through the city, stopping at some of the District’s most iconic sites. We are also in the process of coordinating a Pride ride, which will take place on June 26. As soon as that information is available, it will be on our website.
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