No doubt we live in a beautiful state. Aaahhh… Wisconsin!

And our corner of it is the most beautiful part. OK, we’re a little biased, but consider the friendly communities, green rolling hills and valleys full of life, the fields, the trees, and the great people. So many things make this area a great place to ride a bike.

This week is Wisconsin Bike Week, a celebration that used to be known just as bike to work week. Focusing on biking to work, however, doesn’t do cycling justice. Sure, you can ride a bike a bike to work, but this week is meant to celebrate the entire great state of cycling… in our state.

Says Tim Ingram, Owner of Platteville’s Momentum Bikes and Boards, “A lot of people think of bicycles as toys, but as fun as bikes can be, we prefer to think of them as utilitarian vehicles. People who commute by bicycle, for example, experience less stressful commutes, increase work productivity, and of course reap the benefits of consistent exercise. As a recreational vehicle, the bicycle allows for intimate exploration of Wisconsin’s many bike friendly parks, trails, and communities.”

You can bike to work, bike to shop, bike to run errands, bike downtown for coffee or lunch, or even bike just for the sake of being active outside! It’s great for the environment, great for your wallet, and great for your health.

Despite having lots of room to ride, Americans use their bicycles for less than one percent of all urban trips. Europeans bike in cities a lot more often—in Italy five percent of all trips are on bicycle, 30 percent in the Netherlands, and seven out of eight Dutch people over age 15 have a bike. Bike week aims to tip Americans’ balance a little more away from the car and more toward bikes.

Consider this: put a human being on a bike, and they become the most efficient living creature on the planet! Riding on level ground, no other living creature can travel so far while expending such little energy. When you ride downhill, gravity takes over, and you go even faster while expending even less energy.

If you’ve read this article this far, you’re either a cyclist yourself or are at least interested in getting up on two wheels. Maybe you’d like to encourage your friends, family, or co-workers to join you. If so, share these biking facts:

  • Cycling just 20 miles a week reduces your risk of heart disease to less than half that of those who don’t exercise (British Heart Foundation)
  • The average person will lose 13 pounds in the first year of cycling to work (Outdoor Foundation 2010)
  • Biking improves health and quality of life by getting you outside, relieving stress, and helping you feel better about life in general
  • According to research from the University of North Carolina, people who ride a bike for 30 minutes, five days a week, take about half as many sick days as couch potatoes
  • The difference in the costs of buying and maintaining a bicycle are so far lower than for a car as to be, for all practical purposes, incomparable

So consider getting on two wheels this week to start your summer off right. Encourage your kids to ride their bikes instead of asking for rides. Set an example. Pull your bike out, strap on your helmet, and go for a ride. Feel the wind in your hair. Work those legs and lungs. And enjoy being outside cycling in Wisconsin. Just because you can!

If you’re interested in knowing more about cycling in our area… or if you need to get your old machine ready for the road… or if you just want to connect with others who are passionate about cycling, stop at our local bike shop, Momentum Bikes and Boards. They’ll hook you up with the best in biking accoutrements and the info you need for a safe, enjoyable time on two wheels.

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