The bicycle is one of the greatest inventions of all time, and bicycling is popular worldwide. Why? For starters, the bicycle is a highly efficient mode of transportation. And bicycling is a lot of fun, bringing out the kid in everyone. It's also good for our society, creating healthy people, friendly communities, cleaner air, and less traffic.
Here are some ideas for what you can write about bicycling:
- Bicycling as a solution to global warming
- Trends in the bicycle business—What's hot and what's not
- May is National Bike Month
- Safe Routes to School
- Federal funding for bicycle facilities
- The benefits of bicycling
- Designing complete streets for everyone
- How a child's time has changed
- The Bikes Belong story—Uniting an industry
- The heroes of bicycling
- Bicycling workers are better workers
Bicycling as a solution to global warming
The hot topic of the day is climate change. Bicycling is one solution.
Burning fossil fuels is widely recognized as a primary cause of global warming. An average car in the United States driven 10,000 miles in one year releases 55 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Bicycling is an emission-free form of transportation.
Twenty-five percent of all trips in the U.S. are one mile or less, and 40 percent are less than two miles. Yet fewer than one percent of all trips are taken by bicycle. If people rode bikes instead of cars for short trips, it would reduce harmful pollution that contributes to global warming. Just a four-mile roundtrip by bike can keep 15 pounds of pollution out of the air.
Trends in the bicycle business—What's hot and what's not
The U.S. bicycle industry sells about $6 billion of bicycles, clothing, and accessories each year. The types of bicycles people buy change as the industry adapts to current trends and develops products to better serve market segments.
In the 1980s when mountain biking became mainstream, there was a surge in mountain bikes sales. Fat-tire bikes flew off the shelves as consumers clamored to try this new sport. By the 1990s, this leveled off. Lance Armstrong took center stage in the Tour de France, and road bikes sales soared.
Today, bike companies recognize the need to cater to non-enthusiasts and attract newcomers to the sport. They are focusing on producing non-intimidating, user-friendly bikes. Manufacturers are paying greater attention to women-specific models, and marketing more directly to this powerful market segment. Also, a new class of commuter bikes has emerged, focusing more on utility and comfort.
Here are some fast facts regarding the bicycle biz:
- More bicycles are sold in the U.S. every year than cars and trucks combined. In 2004, 15 million cars and trucks were sold in the U.S. while 18.5 million bikes were sold.
- Close to 98 percent of all bicycles sold in the U.S. are imported.
- The two percent (300,000 ) that are produced domestically are mostly high-tech, super high-performance bikes.
- U.S. bicycle exports are increasing in value each year.
May is National Bike Month
May—when days are long and school is nearly out—is the perfect time to talk bicycling. During National Bike Month, communities throughout the U.S. hold special events, organize bike to work days, and encourage people to get out and pedal. This annual celebration of the bicycling spirit is an excellent opportunity for people to rediscover bicycling or try it for the first time.
Learn more about National Bike Month.
Safe Routes to School
Thirty years ago,half of all U.S. kids biked or walked to school. Today, less the 15 percent do. During the same period, the rate of childhood obesity tripled.
Bikes Belong is helping address this alarming trend by supporting Safe Routes to School, an international movement designed to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for children to walk and bicycle to school. This movement is helping address critical issues related to children's health, traffic, congestion, public safety, and the environment.
In 2005, Congress authorized the first national Safe Routes to School Program. To help maximize the success of this program, Bikes Belong hosts the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, a coalition of hundreds of groups working to set goals, share best practices, secure project funding, provide technical assistance, and offer policy input to agencies that are implementing Safe Routes to School.
Learn more about Safe Routes to School.
Federal funding for bicycle facilities
In the last transportation law, $4.5 billion was authorized for bicycling and walking. This was a dramatic increase over previous commitments. But the figure still represents less than 1.5 percent of all federal government transportation spending.
Federal money for bicycling helps create new bike paths, lanes, routes, and programs throughout the U.S. Want to know what has been funded in your area? Call us. We'll tell you how the money is being spent, why more money needs to be allocated, and what the best investments are for our society.
Learn more about how Bikes Belong works to maximize federal funding for bicycling.
The benefits of bicycling
When most people think of bicycling, they think of riding as a kid or with their own children. But bicycling is so much more than fun. It's an activity that directly addresses front-page societal challenges like road congestion, pollution, obesity, and other weight-related diseases.
Check out our bicycling booklet to learn more.
Designing complete streets for everyone
Nine percent of all trips that Americans make are taken on foot or by bicycle. Yet only nine U.S. states have complete street policies that require new or reconstructed roads to accommodate the needs of cyclists and pedestrians. This needs to change.
Roads that safely accommodate all users are better for everyone. They:
- Improve safety
- Encourage more bicycling and walking
- Reduce congestion by increasing overall capacity
- Provide safe transportation options for children
- Are good for air quality
- Cost less than retrofitting later
How a child's time has changed
Growing up in today's world is very different from years past. U.S. children now lead structured, supervised lives, shuttling from one scheduled activity to another. Soccer games, music lessons, play dates, day care, swim team, art class–all these appointments leave little time for exploring the neighborhood by bicycle.
It's time for kids to rediscover the joys of being outside. Bicycling is the perfect way to get to know the neighborhood and the neighbors. And it's healthy.
If parents are going to allow their children this freedom, they must feel it's safe. Creating safer roads and neighborhoods is an important step in restoring tight-knit communities that children can easily explore.
The Bikes Belong story—Uniting an industry
Eight years ago, bike companies were totally focused on competition, fiercely fighting for individual slices of the industry pie. Then in 1999, industry leaders had a collective revelation: By working together to maximize federal funding for bicycling and promote the activity, the industry could significantly grow the pie. The outcome: Better bicycling, more business, and bigger slices for everyone.
Since Bikes Belong formed in 1999, the industry is more unified, more government leaders recognize the benefits of bicycling, and federal funding for bicycling has increased.
Learn more about the history of Bikes Belong.
The heroes of bicycling
The future of bicycling is in the hands of thousands of committed, capable individuals, including bike industry pioneers, dedicated advocates, enthusiastic government leaders, and pro-bicycle citizens. If you want to profile heroes of bicycling, call us for ideas.
Bicycling workers are better workers
Active employees are happier, healthier, and often more productive. Here are a few things companies can do to encourage employees to commute by bike:
- Provide bike racks, lockers and showers
- Give away bikes in sales competitions
- Provide cash or equipment incentives for people to commute by bike
- Offer a "free ride home" service in case of bad weather
For more information or interviews, contact our Executive Director, Tim Blumenthal, at 303/449-4893 x1 or email@example.com.