Hosting a "Bike To Work Week"

Bike To Work Week is a loosely-organized nationwide event that’s promoted by League of American Bicyclists..  May is always Bike Month, and LAB chooses a week to designate as Bike To Work Week..  The Friday of that week is set aside as Bike To Work Day.  Cities in cooler climates often observe Bike To Work Week later in the year..  Denver, CO hosts their Bike To Work Week in June, for example.

As Bike Month winds down to a close, maybe now is the time to look at what other cities have done for bike month and for Bike To Work Week.   Perhaps next year, you can get a group of people together to host your own.

I’ve only been involved in two “Bike To Work Weeks” so far..  Last year, I was simply an active participant..  This year, I volunteered to be on the planning committee.

I’ve seen some people mention that their cities don’t mention it. I’ve seen other places like Washington, D.C. that put on a huge event for Bike To Work Day..  Kansas City, the city that was recently crowned dead last for bicycle commuting of the 50 largest cities in the US, falls somewhere in the middle..  This year, we focused on all things bicycle related — commuting or not..  We called it “Bike Week” but there’s still a car-free commuter challenge contest where participants log their car-free trips, with more points awarded for human-powered journeys than are awarded for car-pooling or transit use. Many of the events focus on luring people to run errands and gather socially on their bicycles.

One thing that’s to be noted is that it takes a very early spark to get things moving. Deep in the winter, while people are riding their trainers and cyclocross bikes, someone has to be rallying the troops and forming a committee..  If you don’t have a core committee selected soon enough, it will be difficult to pull everything together in time for May..  It’s that simple.


Ideally, flyers should already be through the printing process and ready to distribute no less than one month before the event. If observing the LAB schedule, this means early in April. Your events have to be planned so tha.  the graphics can to be laid out sometime in March..  Events need leaders, commitments and volunteers. Some events even require equipment rentals. Drumming up donations and bicycle schwag for contests and drawings can also be important. It’s not hard to see that the month of Januar.  needs to be used wisely for solidifying the events and pinning down commitments by event organizers.  By February, begging for extra volunteers from the community should begin.   Ideally, the committee should kick into planning mode long before all of this.   Here in KC, that usually means a review of the previous Bike Week data and brainstorming for future events as early as November.

After your Bike To Work Week adventure has come to a close, it’s also important to get data about which events were a big hit and which ones flopped miserably. If you wait until it’s time to plan for the next Bike To Work Week, you’ll probably forget quite a bit. Designating a person to collect feedback from volunteers and event leaders is a good idea. If possible, polling the participants will help even more.   Having a central point of contact is a good idea for any project, and an event like Bike Week is no exception.

Event Ideas:

Ultimately, the events your community chooses will be depicted based on a wide range of variables. Here are some ideas that have worked well in many cities:

  • Bicycle maintenance classes
  • Discounts from certain establishments if you ride your bike
  • Traffic-safety themed group rides
  • Bicycle commuting convoys
  • Free breakfast stops around town for cyclists
  • Contests for commute/errand miles ridden or number of trips taken by bike
  • Ride of Silence to remember and remind us of cyclists killed on the road
  • Free transit fare with a bicycle (for multi-mode commuters)
Does your town offer any Bike To Work Week events?.  Tell us about some of your favorites or feel free to ask for more advice about getting your own Bike To Work Week started next year.
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