Sunday, May 27, 2007

Air Force Base Hosts Bike to Work Day

Image of bicyclists at Wright-Patterson Air Force BaseFrom the Skywriter (Wright-Patterson AFB, OH), 05.25.07:

With the price of gasoline skyrocketing to well over $3 dollars a gallon, what better way to save some money — and get a great cardiovascular workout — than riding your bike to work? Wright-Patterson will celebrate its 13th annual bring your Bike-to-Work Day June 1.

"There are multiple advantages when you bring your bike to work," said Chuck Smith of Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command. “Not only are you saving on gas, but you can get active and lose a little weight as well as helping to find time in your day for exercise." (Read more.)
For better or worse, the U.S. military is one of the largest employers in the country. (I'm no fan of the military; the money lavished on the Pentagon could better fund bike lanes, transit, complete streets, healthcare, education, among other things.) However, as long it does employ so many people, the military should be a model employer for encouraging alternative transportation and healthy living. I'd be interested to hear from any civilian or active-duty personnel who bike to base.

Image: US Air Force
Visit: National Priorities Project: Cost of War
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Fritz said...

I grew up in a military family. With free public transportation, very narrow streets with low speed limits, free universal health care and so forth, the U.S. military is probably in many ways the most 'liberal' community in America.

There's some stratification that occurs between officers and noncoms that extends to their children, but the income gap isn't nearly as bad as in the "outside" world. The officers housing is a little larger and sometimes have slightly larger yards, but the NCO facilities tend to be newer and nicer.

Anyway, back to bikes: Roads tend to be much narrower on military bases with lower speed limits which are actively enforced. Road rage isn't tolerated -- if you mouth of at somebody, at the very least your commander will hear about it and possibly discipline you. As a teen who got around base with a bike on narrow roads, I never worried at all about getting hit.

Chuck Smith said...

I have been bicycle commuting, weather permitting, over a 40-mile round trip from home to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base since 1990. I miss it when I do not pedal to work. We are encouraging others to bike commute through our annual Bike to Work Day, which has attracted as many as 150 riders on good days during its 13 years of existence. As we all know, bicycle commuting is its own reward, saving fuel, saving money, providing exercise, reducing pollution, and giving us something to look forward to each day. - Chuck Smith

Hayley said...

I'm an active duty senior enlisted in the Navy who commutes by bicycle 30 miles each day to my base in America's deep south. I agree with the first comment -- it may be hard to realize it from the image the military projects to the world, but it is an extremely liberal, almost socialist society. It's a true mertiocracy, and it's physical property is run on very socialist rule sets. All the things the first commenter said regarding getting around a military base are quite true. My commute through town is quite dangerous, and I always breathe a sigh of relief when I pass through the gates of the base. There, I know drivers will slow down, and are encultured to look out for me, and respect my right to be on the road.

Additionally, the military society's value system is the sort that encourages the activity. Physical fitness is valued extremely highly, as are the fortitude to make a long commute on human power, and the courage to face the risk involved in traffic. I'm am admired and held up as an example within the unit. The base affords me ample facilities to clean up after I arrive. The Commander has facilitated my commute with a secure place to park my "ride", and flexible work hours to help me be on the road at the times I prefer.

Additionally, it's openly discussed that my commute is helping reduce our dependancy on foreign oil. Believe me, no one wants to ensure THAT more than those of us that have to go over there to secure it's delivery.

Programs like the one described in this post abound. Not only does the military value these things, but it acts as it says. Truth told, if you're looking to start a human-powered commuting revolution, the military community is probably one of your best resources, dispite your disdain of it.