Often, people compare cycling to religion. I don't blame them. The calmness or pure energy that controls the body, the mindfulness of completely focusing on one task, or the persistence needed to dedicate a certain amount of time to the practice can be a religious experience. When I think about Denver's annual Bike to Work Day on June 27, though, the latter jumps out.
Those of you who are churchgoers, think of the difference between the number of parishioners on a standard Sunday to the globs who make the effort to show on Christmas and Easter (known as Christers, to some). I haven't figured out a clever name for the thousands of people who grab their 10-speed from the garage ceiling to roll their way into town on this cycling holiday, but I'm working on it. (Leave me suggestions in the comments.)
Whether you are a regular bike commuter or just a once-a-year-rider, here are my top 10 things to consider on Wednesday.
1. Register: By registering, the data gathered on our cycling habits helps the government see what money should be spent to make for safer and more accessible biking amenities (i.e. bike lanes).
2. Do your prep work: Take your bike for a spin the night before to check if a tire needs to be inflated, the chain lubed, or your seat adjusted.
3. Don't dress your best: Pack your work clothes in a bag or pannier and change when you get to work. The last thing you want is to get your dress pants stuck in your chain.
4. Make the choice: Upset that you have to sit in traffic on I-25? Leave your car at home. The average commute is 1.7 miles, but even a long commute works when you combine Denver's public transportation with your own bicycle or B-Cycle to get door-to-door service.
5. Win: You can get loot. Prizes include a Thule bike rack, USA Pro Cycling Challenge VIP passes, cycling apparel, and goods from IKEA. Encourage your co-workers to take to the pedals with you.
6. Fuel up: Plan your route with breakfast pit stops or hit Civic Center Park for a little pre-work bike breakfast party.
7. Study: Refresh your memory of Colorado Bicycling Laws. Don't ride on the sidewalks. Stop at stop signs and traffic lights. Be nice.
8. Lose it: You can pay to put gas in your car—or choose to burn off last night's dinner. Fact: It takes more than a billion gallons of fuel to drive around the extra weight Americans have gained since 1960.
9. Party: Cactus (Read our story on Cactus CEO Joe Conrad) invites everyone to their annual party to celebrate with three of Denver's favorite things: beer, food trucks, and, of course, bikes. The free event is a giant block party to benefit BikeDenver. Bonus: Check out the Bike From Work Bash videos to get hyped for the big day.
10. Don't wait until next year to commute. The more the merrier.
—Image via Shutterstock