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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Marine Corps looks to bicycles

Image of folding bicycle next to Marines Corps helicopter
From, 07.17.08:

Marines Look to Alternative Commuting
MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO--Record high fuel prices have depot personnel turning to alternative forms of transportation. The use of public transportation, bicycles, and carpools are on the rise. The rising price of fuel has led some people to drive less frequently.

Many San Diegans have recently bought bicycles as an alternative to driving. "There is a 20-to-30 percent increase in bike sales lately because of the rise in gas prices," said Mo Karimi, owner of San Diego Bike Shop. "Sometimes we are out of stock on bikes and bike parts because the demand is so high locally and nationwide."

But if a service member lives too far to bicycle to work and doesn't want to pay the full price of public transportation, there is the Transportation Incentive Program available to Navy and Marine Corps military members, federal Department of the Navy civilian employees, nonappropriated fund employees, part-time federal employees and interns, and reservists on active duty for more than 30 days.(Read more.)
For better or worse--in my view, the latter--the American military is a major employer of both civilians and service members. It will be a great thing if the military became a model employer of alternative transportation, especially bicycles. Most military facilities are not easily accessibly by transit; this article comes from San Diego, where the climate and existing infrastructure makes it easier to bicycle.

Are you presently serving in the military or a civilian employee? Are the conditions at your base or facility favorable for bike commuting? What's your experience?

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Air Force Base Hosts Bike to Work Day, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site


Shawn said...

I am an active duty Chief Petty Officer in the Navy and I commute by bike to Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport five days a week. My commute is about 3.5 miles one way through South Mississippi's streets which are narrow and filled with drivers who believe that bicycles belong on the sidewalk. But the base has done a decent job of making cycling a viable option with most buildings having bike racks right by the entrances.

For the most part, most of the personnel who work at large Navy bases live too far to commute to base by bike only. Either, they are living far away for nicer surroundings (i.e. Norfolk, which has crap for mass transit) or living further away just to afford rent/mortgage (i.e. San Diego, which has a decent mass transit system).

Anonymous said...

As a civil servant and former-Marine, I've got to say that this is one of the least known programs through-out the Department of Defense.

Thanks for the information, Paul. I'm going to find out how to get signed up for it here at Camp Lejeune.


Unknown said...

I was stationed on Camp Pendleton in the late 80s early 90s. I used to bike to work both when I lived off base and when I lived on base. I never had any trouble at all biking on base.

Generally the environment in the Marine Corps is very favorable toward any kind of exercise.

Kevin Love said...

Take a look at the second photo at:

Troops of the North Nova Scotian Highlanders and the Highland Light Infantry of Canada going ashore from LCI (L) 299 [Landing Craft Infantry], Bernières-sur-mer, Normandy, France, 6 June 1944.

Yes, those are bicycles being taken ashore on D-day. I searched unsuccessfully for a similar photo of my old Militia regiment, The Royal Regiment of Canada, which landed on Juno Beach the next day.

The Swiss Army maintained bicycle units until 2003. Source:

I have it on good authority that a counter-penetration force plans to use bicycles in the upcoming Ontario Militia exercises at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.

Yokota Fritz said...

Hi Paul, I think you're aware that I grew up as a military brat.

Traffic safety generally wasn't an issue on base where I lived -- traffic rules are vigorously enforced. As a teen getting around by bike I never had issues with other traffic on base.

Also, where I lived, shuttle bus transportation to get around the base was always available. I don't know about these days, but back in the 70s and 80s it was always free and the schedules were generally worked around operational needs. They were geared more toward single airmen living in dormitories rather than families, but the shuttle service was available to everybody.