Congratulations to everyone who celebrated Bike To Work Day 2013, and particularly those who were first-time bike commuters. It was a banner year for this event, with cities from Anchorage, Alaska, to West Palm Beach, Florida, reporting bigger-than-ever turnouts.
Bike To Work Day is a terrific opportunity for those who have considered bicycle commuting to give it a try.
Bike associations organize convoys from different neighborhoods to help people see what routes are bike-friendly. They set up pit stops where they offer water, coffee, and breakfast. And they host rallies where speakers talk about local bike amenities and the many benefits of bicycling. First-time riders-to-work learn that --depending on the community-- what might have seemed intimidating is easier than they thought.
Here in the Washington, DC, region, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association reported more than 14,500 people registered for the event, a 20 percent increase from last year. Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez was spotted at the region's biggest rally, held annually in Freedom Plaza. Capital Bikeshare tallied 10,166 rides, its highest-ever ridership for a weekday. And, I'm happy to report, the WABA pit stop at Canal Park, across the street from our DOT headquarters, had twice as many participants as last year.