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Vol. LXVI, No. 12
June 6, 2014
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Bike to Work Day Gets Drenched
Heavy rain limited attendance at 2014 Bike to Work Day, but the NIH Bicycle Commuter Club and its volunteers nonetheless welcomed the hearty on May 16 in front of Bldg. 1. Registrants received event T-shirts. NIAID’s Dr. Bernard Moss (c) was among the undeterred riders ORS’s Joe Cox (l) receives the Carl Henn Award from R&W President Randy Schools for efforts on behalf of NIH cyclists.

Heavy rain limited attendance at 2014 Bike to Work Day, but the NIH Bicycle Commuter Club and its volunteers nonetheless welcomed the hearty on May 16 in front of Bldg. 1. Registrants (above, l) received event T-shirts. NIAID’s Dr. Bernard Moss (c) was among the undeterred riders. At right, ORS’s Joe Cox (l) receives the Carl Henn Award from R&W President Randy Schools for efforts on behalf of NIH cyclists.

Photos: Bill Branson

Just a week before NIH observed Bike to Work Day on May 16, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of people who traveled to work by bike increased roughly 60 percent over the last decade.

NIMH’s Jules Asher (l), decked out in rain gear, prepares to videotape BTWD proceedings.
NIMH’s Jules Asher (l), decked out in rain gear, prepares to videotape BTWD proceedings.
The rain did not dampen riders’ moods, as this participant proves.
The rain did not dampen riders’ moods, as this participant proves.

But those statistics were of no avail on BTWD, when torrential early morning rains dampened attendance at what is usually a robustly supported event. Ironically, skies cleared around 9:30 a.m., precisely the time when the three NIH pit stops closed up shop for the day.

The Census Bureau says that bicycle commuting increased from about 488,000 in 2000 to about 786,000 during 2008-2012. “This is the largest percentage increase of all commuting modes tracked by the 2000 Census and the 2008-2012 American Community Survey,” the bureau said.

But rain is no respecter of statistical trend. According to Michelle Mejia, transportation quality assurance specialist with the Division of Amenities and Transportation Services, “We had 531 people register for [BTWD] and 155 passionate cyclists showed up in the rain to obtain their BTWD T-shirts.”

That means that only around 30 percent of the NIH’ers who expected to ride that morning actually did so. The rest, according to Mejia, need not despair of receiving their 2014 BTWD commemorative shirts. Those who registered for the event can obtain their shirts on Sept. 22 at NIH’s observance of Car Free Day.

According to the Census Bureau, while bicyclists still account for just 0.6 percent of all commuters, some of the nation’s largest cities have more than doubled their rates since 2000. Portland, Ore., had the highest bicycle-commuting rate at 6.1 percent, up from 1.8 percent in 2000. The rate in Washington, D.C., is 3.1 percent.

Bicycle Commuting Data from the Census Bureau

A representative of Proteus Bicycles prepares fruit smoothies by using pedal power to run a blender. A representative of Proteus Bicycles prepares fruit smoothies by using pedal power to run a blender.
A representative of Proteus Bicycles prepares fruit smoothies by using pedal power to run a blender.
  • The West had the highest rate of biking to work at 1.1 percent and the South had the lowest rate at 0.3 percent.
  • The median commute time for those who bike to work was about 19.3 minutes.
  • Men were more likely to bike to work than women were. The rate of bicycle commuting for men was more than double that of women, 0.8 percent compared with 0.3 percent.
  • Those with a graduate or professional degree or higher and those with less than a high school degree had the highest rates of biking to work, at 0.9 and 0.7 percent, respectively.

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