Cycling to Work Boosts Your Physical and Mental Health

Listen up Vancouver: from May 27 to June 2, over 30 communities are participating in BC Society’s Bike to Work Week. From Dawson Creek to Campbell River, people all across the province are taking the opportunity to avoid the idling highway traffic and seek some fresh air and exercise en route to work.

Bike to Work BC Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting cycling as the healthier and cleaner choice for commuters. Encouraging participants to join community teams and ride together as a group, Dr. Richard Backus, president of Bike to Work BC Society, believes that workplace teams that bike together will develop camaraderie to help turn the annual commitment into a life long habit.

“Find a buddy at work or cycle with a friend and try the route out on a weekend first or give yourself extra time the first time you ride,” says Dr. Backus, who has been biking for 35 years. “And for those who have a longer commute consider the bike plus bus option. Most BC Transit buses have bike racks.”

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Registration is open for all cyclists. Participants can designate a team leader to register their team members or any individual can join as a team of one. By registering your team, the system will be able to help riders track their kilometres cycled and kilograms of greenhouse gases saved. Also registered participants will have a chance to win prizes.

“I like riding my bike to work,” said Anthea Jubb, one of many BC Hydro employees who participates in Bike to Work Week. “On my way to work insights come unasked for to help me solve the problems of the day ahead. On my way home the more I coast, glide and pedal the faster the stress and trouble of the work day slip away.”

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Bike to Work Week has been continuously gaining popularity each year. In 2012, over 3,500 first-time commuter cyclists participated in the event and over 209,000 kilograms of CO2 were saved from the atmosphere. This year BC Society members expect to increase the number and make a difference one pedal at a time.

“No matter what kind of a day you have had at work, you will always feel better once you get on your bike for the cycle home,” affirms Dr. Backus. “Even if you just try it for one or two days a week, it is surprising the difference it can make to your health—both physical and mental. We had one participant who lost 50 pounds. And of course there is the added benefit to the environment and your pocket book.”

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