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Another great story from one of our enthusiastic bike commuters. Give biking a try and you’ll understand why our bike-to-workers are so upbeat! (Hint: It’s the endorphins.)

Laura Green works at Primal Screen, an animation studio in Old Fourth Ward with a very “animated” bike culture! With monthly bike-to-lunch days and extra bikes available at Primal Screen’s worksite in case people need an exercise break during the day, Laura’s workplace is definitely on board with our favorite 2-wheeled commute mode.

Laura is lucky enough to live close to work, making her bike commute easy. At 0.6 miles, her commute takes about four minutes to walk and two minutes to bike—making clean commuting a real no-brainer.  In fact, her commute is so short that, even though she walks or bikes every day, it took Laura ages to earn the distinction of a 25k Commuter Champion! After four whole years of biking to work, this is one milestone well earned.

Maybe your commute’s a bit longer than 0.6 miles, but is there a chance that biking could work for you? Georgia Commute Options and our partners are on hand to help with trip planning—and you could even earn extra cash for making the switch from driving alone! Take the first step today: email Info@GaCommuteOptions.com to find a better commute.



We love bringing you stories of real-life clean commuters in metro Atlanta! Check out this story from David Pedrick, who bikes to his to work every day.

David says…

I live in Adair Park. Minus a couple railroad tracks, the ride into Midtown is fantastic. I biked to high school once to illustrate how easy it would be for others to bike as well. I lived 17 miles from school while most of my classmates lived within a mile. Since then, I have been biking to work every day to show that it’s a normal way to get to work.  

I save lots of money on gasoline and parking fees. I fill my gas tank just once a month, and that includes an annual trip back to my family in Iowa. In addition to personal financial and health benefits, I really value the community that biking builds. Finally, the environmental benefits of biking to work are incredible. Driving a vehicle for short trips uses many more resources, whether it’s roads, parking spaces, energy, emissions, than biking.

Biking to work = huge savings on your commute costs. How’s that for a reason to switch?  See how much you could be saving by using our Commute Calculator. And on top of that, you can earn cash and prizes from Georgia Commute Options by switching from driving alone to biking, walking, carpooling, vanpooling, transit or telework! http://gacommuteoptions.com/Save-Your-Commute/Earn-Cash.-Win-Prizes



All over metro Atlanta, commuters like you are choosing alternatives to driving alone. Check out how Jared’s life has changed since he started biking to his job at LeasePlan every day.

What clean commute mode do you use?

Biking is my main preference for commuting. I occasionally carpool with my wife because it’s easy.

When did you get started using that mode, and why?

I really enjoyed biking as a kid, and I biked in college, so it’s been a natural progression. It’s fun and it makes my commute enjoyable because I don’t have to sit in traffic. Plus, it cuts down on my carbon emissions and just makes me feel really good every day.

What do you like most about your commute?

It’s nice to not sit in line of cars — much more fun! I get to be part of my surroundings; when you’re in the car you’re closed off to everything. My commute lets me enjoy the small things, like riding over the Big Creek Greenway. It is all protected forest land and I can feel the temperature drop through the valley — so yeah, it’s getting to notice all the small things that people miss when they are flying past in a car.

What benefits have you seen from not driving alone?

I only have to get gas once in a while, which saves me a lot of money. I’ve had the same car forever, because I never drive it. I also don’t have the additional costs of new tires, oil changes, and maintaining it every single day.

Biking helps me mentally because I know I’m doing what I can to help combat global climate change and ocean acidification. Even though my impact is small, I know we can’t change other people’s actions, just change little things ourselves. Several years ago, I got so frustrated with the slow pace of social change related to the environment, and I had this thought that I can’t sit and point fingers at other people for not doing the right thing if I’m not doing the right thing. I have to do the right thing if I’m allowed to complain about it.

I like to think I’m an example to every person that sees me biking to work.

What did your commute look like before you started clean commuting?

Before this commute, I was frustrated and sat in his car. I did that for less than a year. I started getting very serious about biking to work about 7 years ago. Years ago, people would angrily pass by and try to knock me off the road — people didn’t know how to properly pass bike commuters. People have gotten more used to having bikers on the side of the road now.



So we all know that biking to work is great workout all by itself. But what if you want to turn that workout up a notch? Do you have to add more hours on the bike to get really fit? Do you have to hang on to that gym membership after all?  Heck no.

Our friends at Total Women’s Cycling have put together an awesome workout plan that can be worked right into your bike commute (don’t be put off, dudes—you can do it too).  Hey, if you’ve got to go to work every day, you might as well be crushing it at the same time, right? Take a look at the list below if you want to really go after those buns of steel.

(And if you’d rather keep your ride to work at a relaxed pace, we’re all for that, too. In fact, you’ll probably find us meandering down the bike lane, sipping a smoothie from our handlebar cupholders.)

(Remember, no matter how intense your bike commute is, you can earn cash and prizes for it! Learn about Georgia Commute Options rewards here!)

Total Women’s Cycling Commute Training Plan:

1. Burn Fat

Why it’s good: Low intensity exercise is perfect for burning fat, and therefore ideal for weight loss. It also doesn’t involve working so hard that you end up sweaty and out of breath.

What to do: Aim to ride at a steady speed and intensity for your entire journey, using your gears at traffic lights to maintain the level of effort. You are looking to be a little bit out of breath, but still able to hold a conversation. 

2. Interval training

Why it’s good: This is great for increasing your fat burning zone so you use your energy stores more efficiently, and it will give you a good workout.

What to do: Increase your exertion and ride hard for 2 minutes at about 80% of your maximum heart rate; just below flat out. Then return to your normal speed and gearing for 3 minutes. Aim to repeat this 4 or 5 times over your commute where possible.

3. High-cadence spins

Why it’s good: Cycling with a higher cadence (which is essentially how fast your legs spin the pedals) is much more efficient than pushing hard gears with a low cadence, particularly when climbing. It can be hard to get used to though so training your legs into it is a very useful activity.

What to do: Drop down to an easier gear, and spin your legs as fast as you can for 2 or 3 minutes, then return to your comfortable gear for 8 minutes. Aim to do this several times during the journey. It’s surprisingly hard the first few times!

4. Sprints

Why it’s good: This will help improve your explosive power, giving you a better turbo boost when you need it for breakaways or overtaking. You can try this when you are moving away from traffic lights if the way is clear, or on long obstacle-free road sections.

What to do: Increase your cadence and gearing so you accelerate as fast as you can, and keep it up for 1 minute. Then return to your regular comfortable speed. Aim to repeat this 4 or 5 times over your journey where possible.

5. Strength training

Why it’s good: Get your legs ready for those hard uphills by improving your strength and building those shapely thigh and calf muscles. This will also give you power for pushing over obstacles on MTB trails.

What to do: After warming up, shift your gearing three places higher, so you have to push harder to move the pedals. Keep riding on this harder gear for 2 minutes, then switch back down to an easier gear for 3 minutes. Aim to repeat this 4 or 5 times over your commute where possible.

6. Distance and Endurance Training

Why it’s good: If you are training for an event or race, you need to get used to doing long rides. It will also give you the opportunity to work out what you need to fuel your ride and how to pace yourself.

What do to: Try and add an extra hour to your ride home. You may need to take a longer detour to fit this in; pick a nice quiet or picturesque route, and enjoy the ride.

7. Rest Day

Why it’s good: You’ll give your muscles a gentle stretch through riding, but won’t make them work hard.

What to do: Just ride your whole route at an easy, relaxed pace.



It’s Bike to Work Week, so what better time to sing the praises of city cycling? Biking to work is great because it’s pollution-free and takes cars off the road—lightening traffic for everyone.

And while we know it’s hard to give up your air-conditioned privacy pod in favor of a commute that breaks a sweat, we have a feeling you’ll find it worth the effort. In fact, we’re confident that before too long, you’ll be a bona fide bike snob for life.

Why is biking to work the best? We grabbed a few pointers from Bike NYC:

Save money. Quit the gym!

In New York, it’s the bridges. In Georgia, it’s the hills. Pedal this terrain a couple times a week and you can cancel that gym membership. #ThighsofSteel

Biking is good for the planet

We’ve been saying it for years: When we reduce cars on the road, we reduce emissions and smog too. Some of you guys do it by carpooling, vanpooling or transit—and others do it by bike.

Get places fast

This one might be debatable in some neighborhoods—but hey, wouldn’t you rather be zipping downhill with the wind in your hair than sitting still at a red light? Case closed.

It's fun!

Again, we say: Downhill. There’s nothing like it.

See the city from a new perspective

With the windows up and the radio blasting, there are so many Atlanta sights, sounds and smells that you miss. Take a whiff from a bike seat and your worldview shifts.

Make new friends

You know who cyclists love? Other cyclists. Metro Atlanta’s got tons of trails and group rides that can give you a whole new crew. Find a few of them here!

Check out Bike NYC’s post for the full list. Then dig your bike out of the garage and take it for a spin in the general direction of your office!

 

And don’t forget, making the switch from driving alone to biking to work could earn you cash and prizes from Georgia Commute Options! Learn how here.



It’s National Bike to Work Week, and road warriors all over metro Atlanta have jumped in the saddle on their way to work. But if an entire week is a bit daunting, how about trying it for just a day? Friday is National Bike to Work Day, and you can hop into a group ride with Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

From the AJC:

Dimitroff will ride a loop beginning and ending at the Georgia Dome, covering approximately 12 miles through downtown Atlanta.

The ride will start at 7:30 a.m. at Falcons Landing between the Georgia Dome and Phillips Arena on Andrew Young International Boulevard. Dimitroff will lead the route along with members of the Falcons front office and local cyclists.

If you’d like to join in the group ride, click here to register

Dimitroff has participated in Bike to Work Day each year since 2012.

We gotta admit, we’re big fans of Dimitroff for his commitment to making our city a better place to ride. In addition to hosting this group ride, he also took on the final leg of the 2016 Ride on Atlanta, covering nearly 90 miles from Athens to downtown to raise funds and awareness for safer cycling.

(And if you’re thinking of making biking to work your regular deal, there could be cash in it for you! Learn how you can earn rewards for making the switch from driving alone.)



Are You Wasting $68,000 on Gas?

We’ve been saying it for years, folks: you could be saving tons of money if you switched from driving alone to a commute alternative.  And now, to back us up, the folks at WiseBread have done some commute math:

Let's assume you're an average person driving that average 38 miles to and from work each day. And let's also assume you're paying an average amount for gas, which is currently about $2 per gallon. If you drive a car that gets 30 miles per gallon, you're spending about $2.50 a day on gas, or about $12.50 a week. Assuming you may take a couple weeks off throughout the year from driving, this adds up to $625 annually.

And if you think $625 isn’t that impressive, click through to see how WiseBread claims you could turn it into $281,000 over a lifetime of commuting. That number’s nothing to sneeze at.

Clean commuting: It’s where the big bucks are!

 

Transportation, commute options, transit

  How 10 U.S. Cities Use Public Transit

More than a fifth of U.S. city-dwellers use public transit on a regular basis, according to a recent Pew Research survey.

Huge shocker: New York City boasts the most transit riders. Some of the other rankings, however, are surprising—like Los Angeles coming in second place

Click through to learn more about the study—and don’t forget, taking transit here in metro Atlanta can earn you cash and prizes from Georgia Commute Options. Learn how you can get up to $150 when you switch to transit from driving alone.

 

Five myths about bicycling

Now that we’re enjoying prime cycling weather (especially since the pollen is on its way out), people are pedaling their hearts out. But according to the News & Observer, there are still a lot of misconceptions about getting around on two wheels—related to everything from helmet use to average cyclist income.

Click through for a list of 5 Bike Myths out there, and let us know if you agree!

If you’re a regular bike commuter, you could win $50 in our Earth Week #cleangreencommute social media challenge. Learn more here



Carpool Karaoke on the Way to World Domination

By now, you may have heard of J-Lo’s epic turn on James Corden’s hilarious recurring Carpool Karaoke bit.  Why do we love Carpool Karaoke so much?

The AV Club has theories about it tapping into the music industry’s success on YouTube in general, and points to James Corden’s comic talent in interacting with his passengers. And sure, we’ll hand it to them. That sounds smart.

But we have another theory. We think people love Carpool Karaoke so much because, deep down, they’d rather be carpooling themselves. We all long to stage karaoke bouts of our very own—maybe on a daily basis, on the ride to work.

And Georgia Commute Options is here to tell you that dreams do come true. You can find a carpool partner right on our home page! Just go to GaCommuteOptions.com and click “Find a Ridematch” to get matched with dozens of potential carpool karaoke buddies near where you live and work. Get matched (and start singing) today!

 

Pedaling Towards Happiness: 7 Mental Health Benefits of Riding Bikes

It’s no secret that biking to work gets you more active, which is part of a healthier life. Plus, it’s a pollution-free commute, which makes for healthier air.

And if those weren’t enough, here’s a new benefit of biking to work: improved mental health.

This list points out that a non-competitive physical activity (like biking for errands and the commute) improves our subjective mood.

Physical activity is also tied to reduced stress, anxiety and depression. And exercising outdoors (hint, hint) boosts those levels even higher.

And yes, all the above benefits can come from lots of different physical activities. But here’s the kicker: Cycling is the one activity that gets you off the Downtown Connector at rush hour. Can’t argue with that.

Click the link for the full list—and if you’re ready to switch to cycling on your commute, see what cash and prizes you can earn from Georgia Commute Options here

 

By Bike or by Bus, Buford Highway Can Be a Wild, Tasty Ride

Buford Highway is everyone’s favorite haven of authentic international food. But if it’s your first time out, the prospect can be a bit overwhelming. Where’s the best place to start, and what’s the best way to navigate the seven-lane, traffic-laden highway?

Lucky for us, We Love BuHi is willing to take the lead. Known for their periodic Bikes and Bites rides along the 8-mile stretch, We Love BuHi is now rumored to be organizing a bus food crawl through the same neighborhood. If you’re cycling-averse (we forgive you) and still want to sample BuHi’s best, this could be your ticket.

And hey—if you’re new to transit, this might be the perfect chance to get the feel for bus riding in general. Maybe you could even work it into your daily commute. You know, there are Georgia Commute Options prizes in it for you if you do. 



The last bike I’d ridden until about a year ago had a banana seat and streamers. Do you remember that feeling of freedom with the wind hitting your face as a child?

It was years between that and the day that I signed up for an Atlanta Bike Coalition class to learn how to ride an adult. I didn’t believe the idea that you don’t forget how to ride a bike. Within the hour, I felt like it was the first day of summer break. I bought my first adult bike a week later and, 2 years later, use it for my daily commute.

Because I leave earlier than I would when driving, I actually spend less time commuting my 9 miles by bike than I did when I drove in traffic. I started riding club rides and group rides — including centuries — a year before I started commuting to work. Now that is like summer camp. There are people that you randomly met during a ride that are now friends you look forward to riding with.

I’m thankful for the friends I’ve met that have opened themselves up to teaching me skills and becoming friends. That isn’t limited to others on bicycles. It was the first day of school when I biked by a walker I’d seen before but spoke to for the first time. It’s now a little odd when we don’t see each other, and we wonder if we’re safe. Commuting is like Halloween as I don my helmet, reflective backpack, and bright orange or yellow commuter costume. Oh, and it’s like Christmas when I use my five lights including three blinkies.

I may be smiling but I’m well aware that I need to be seen since I’m not on a single protected bike lane.

Sylvia has PhD in nutrition and is a certified specialist in sports dietetics. She finds commuting to be one more way to incorporate enjoyable physical activity into her day. She also enjoys traveling, cooking and trying all of Atlanta’s great restaurants, reading, and keeping up to date on the latest science around nutrition and physical activity.



After joining fellow employees at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a Bike to Work Day a couple of years ago, I decided to bike to work at least one day a week for a year.  My commute was almost 10 miles one way. I had been cycling for years and thought about doing this before, but did not feel comfortable riding on the streets of Atlanta. 

Several experienced cyclists led bike trains from various locations around Atlanta and dropped riders of all abilities off at different work locations. By riding with others, I felt safer and they showed me some great options of taking neighborhoods and crossing busy streets at traffic lights.  I took a Safe City Cycling class and felt much more comfortable.  That year, I rode at least once per week every week except two.  I missed one week because of vacation and the other because of illness.  I continue to try to bike at least once per week.

If I have to drive to work when there is normal morning and afternoon traffic it takes me at least 30 minutes to drive one way. It takes me about 45 minutes to bike. So round trip, I get 90 minutes’ worth of exercise for only 30 minutes more time out of my day. That’s a pretty good return for my investment. Plus, I am less stressed from sitting in traffic and have more energy throughout the day.

CDC also joins Emory cyclists for commuter breakfasts.  Bike trains and riders from different locations stop by on the way to school or work and share a quick breakfast and chat with other cyclists.

Programs like the Atlanta Bike Challenge really help keep me challenged to bike more and promote cycling to others. CDC has a cycling listserv, and we use it for promoting challenges, safe cycling, connecting riders and cycling advocacy.

CDC also partners with Georgia Commute Options and holds transportation fairs at different locations to promote clean commuting. Last year they also installed bike stations in a couple of locations equipped with air pump and basic tools for quick fixes when needed.

I now lead an occasional bike train with fellow cyclist in the Emory area. Over the past few years, we have seen a lot more bike racks filling up with more and more bike commuters.

Becky has been an avid cyclist for almost 20 years, completing several triathlons and one Ironman competition.  She has ridden several century bike rides and two back to back centuries for the AIDS Vaccine Ride.  In the last two years, thanks to encouragement from work and the work of organizations like Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and events like Streets Alive, she has become a regular bike commuter and tries to ride her bike rather than taking her car whenever possible. 



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