“The biggest thing folks often come to me about is how do I commute from my home to the installation and do it safely?”said Emery, who notes biking is rarely considered, although Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) has the facilities to support it.
“We participate in the bike to work day every year and we have a couple hundred bicycle slots on the installation. [For] people who really like bicycling or live close enough it’s a great way to commute, especially as we get closer to fall and folks are still enjoying the outside weather,” explained Emery.
The main goal of the workshop is to encourage people of all skill levels to bike to work and to show that bicycling is a great recreational way to save money, get fit and have fun.
If you’re interested in cycling to work but don’t own a bike Sandra Brecher, chief of Commuter Services at the Department of Transportation will explain details about the upcoming Wisconsin and South bike share station at the Medical Center Metro Station.
The planned bike share, which has already been successfully implemented in downtown Washington D.C., “will be seamlessly integrated with all the other bike share stations in the area,” said Brecher. This new station will be part of an expansion that will cover Laurel, Montgomery County, Bethesda and the Shady Grove region.
The bike share program is designed to allow commuters to borrow bikes and ride them from station to station, emphasizing short trips. This makes them perfect for use in tandem with other cheaper forms of transportation like the subway or bus.
“We’re hoping this will have the effect of helping more people get out of their single occupant vehicles and into alternative modes, not just biking,” said Brecher.
If you have doubts about your ability to ride or questions about what equipment you may need, Nelle Pierson, the outreach coordinator for the Washington Area Bicycling Association (WABA) will be holding a panel on commute preparation.
“We are really about equipping people with information on how to make bike commuting as easy as possible,” said Pierson. “The workshops are good for people who may already be biking for recreation or are interested in biking for the first time.”
Topics discussed in this panel will be bike, gear and route selection, how to make your commute as comfortable as possible and the general logistics of bike commuting.
“Our goal is to encourage people to give biking a try,” said Pierson. “Once you have strong positive experiences on a bike it’s easy to want to incorporate it into other aspects of your life. As long as it’s fun people are going to get hooked. ”
To those who are considering commuting via bicycle Pierson greatly advises it for more than just its health benefits. “The average person who starts out bike commuting loses 12 pounds in the first year. For me I get my heart rate up twice a day. I’m on the bike and I can take as fast a pace as I want. I can get a workout or I can take it nice and leisurely, maybe work through some of the issues I’ve encountered throughout the day. I can do all this as opposed to being in a more stressful environment in a car or on the Metro.”
To RSVP for the Bike Commuting Workshop, contact Emery at 301-319-3010 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To see the map of future bike share locations go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/bikeshare.