Riding for the climate, and just for the fun of it

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This past week many of my colleagues at NRDC completed the Climate Ride, riding from New York to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness, and funds, to fight climate change.   I rode in the California Climate Ride last fall with several of my colleagues.  This time the NRDC team swelled to 25 riders! While I won’t be able to participate this fall, I hope we can keep up the positive trend.  It’s a fantastic event: well organized with an inspiring group of participants committed to pushing for political and policy changes to stop climate change. 

I was reminded of Climate Ride this morning on my ride to work as I came upon this crowd of bicycle commuters.  

The number of bike commuters in San Francisco has grown tremendously in the last few years.  It may seem like a small thing, but riding in this big group gives me great hope about the future of our planet.

Riding a bike is a great symbol of the fight against climate change: through use of simple, available and affordable technology, individuals have an opportunity to vastly reduce emissions.  Even better than that, biking is, in many ways, an improvement on driving: it’s more fun, provides exercise, cheaper (low startup costs, lower maintenance costs and doesn’t require fuel), and doesn’t require much parking space.  

Biking is also a symbol for the fight against climate change because policy changes make a difference: the viability of biking to commute depends on whether local governments prioritize bikes.  Bike commuters need well maintained and interconnected bike lanes, opportunity to access and use public transit, good places to lock up, and traffic laws to protect biker safety.

My own commute down Market Street in San Francisco has gotten easier in recent years with new bike lanes and lower car traffic, but the condition of the road and the intermittency of bike lanes leaves room for improvement.   With this many bikers on the road, I think we can do it.

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