The weather must have something to do with my bicycle jaunt last Saturday. In the course of 50 miles, I counted no less than 75 folks pedaling their way from where they came to where they were going.

There is absolutely no doubt that cycling as a mode of transportation is growing by leaps and bounds. Some of it is understandable. The Greatest Generation, with their allegiance to GM and Henry Ford, is fading rapidly. The boomer generation (yup, mine) has embraced the need for non-impact exercise and perhaps leaning toward cycling as a transportation mode.

The millennial generation is probably the first generation to have a lower standard of living than the previous generation in possibly the country’s existence, and the Gen Z folks have found that the two largest expenses they face, following their parents’ and grandparents’ model, are housing and transportation.

AAA published that it costs about $10,000 a year to own and operate a car, but only $400 a year to own and operate a bicycle. Add to that Amazon delivering in one or two days to the door, grocery stores delivering to the door, restaurants with delivery service, Uber for door-to-door ride sharing, and the car—a giant financial suck on the pocketbook—becomes unnecessary. Don’t need a calculator to figure out how to make the student loan payments.

Many towns and cities across the U.S. are making efforts to incorporate bicycling as transportation and not recreational. Not so much for Charlotte County. The top 10 locations that have made efforts to increase the number of trips by bicycle can be found at the PeopleForBikes website (https://bit.ly/2I6m3nW). Almost everyone will recognize these cities. Oddly, half of them are in northern climates.

Regardless of local efforts to ease traffic problems by incorporating bicycle infrastructure, the undeniable fact is that more and more folks are riding a bicycle to get to work or complete errands. For those of you who don’t ride yet but still have that old Schwinn hanging in the garage, get it down and start polishing, lubing and filling the tires with air.

Too much work? Drop it off at an LBS (local bike shop) for some tender care. If it’s too far gone, they’ll be happy to set you up with the proper bike, fitted correctly and even a warranty of some sort.

Do it now, and here’s why. May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling—and encourage more folks to giving travel by bike a try.

An additional bonus is that Bike to Work Day is May 17. Why is it important for first-timers to try a ride? Because many people who participate in a Bike to Work Day or promotion as first-time commuters become regular bike commuters.

There are many bike clubs in Charlotte County, from the Peace River Riders Bicycle Club to local bike-to-breakfast (or lunch) groups, meetup groups, bike groups associated with civic organizations and more.

Have your group surf over to https://bit.ly/2MWOX93 for a Bike Month Guide put out by the League of American Bicyclists that list loads of activities to celebrate Bike Month and maybe turn a sedentary non- biker to an enthusiastic and healthier pedaling aficionado. When a bicyclist becomes more sanguine with riding, the number of weekly trips taken by bike increase significantly. People are also more likely to bike for transportation if they have social support.

Now you may ask, why is he talking about an event that is three months away? I’m still trying to find out where January went, or did this new year just start with February? I mention National Bike Month now so I don’t wake one morning in August thinking I should have told you about National Bike Month much earlier.

With the trend towards more people cycling for transportation and utilitarian reasons, I proffer the following question:

Did you ride your bike today?

Court Nederveld owns his own computer consulting and fixit service — Bits, Bytes & Chips Computer Service — and is an avid bicyclist. You can reach him adakeep@hotmail.com or 941-626-3285.

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