Something to Celebrate

Michelle Avola
Ex Director of NPC

I appreciate just about any reason to celebrate and there’s a lot to celebrate in May.

When I was a little girl, a sweet grandmotherly neighbor would wave me over every May 1st to give me a flower and wish me a happy May Day. I cannot boast any Mexican heritage, but I do enjoy a margarita on Cinco de Mayo.

I’m blessed to be a mom and still fortunate to have my mom on this side of heaven. Mother’s Day is usually an enjoyable day – whether I’m “surprised” with breakfast in bed or I just use the day as my excuse to be a little lazy!

At the end of the month, we celebrate Memorial Day with a picnic or barbeque as we remember the many service men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.

According to www.nationaltoday.com/may-holidays I’ve missed quite a few holidays, but something to celebrate the entire month of May is National Bike Month!

It is a celebration of cycling sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast-to-coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling and to encourage more folks to give bicycling a try.

Bicycling plays an important role in the lives of millions of Floridians and thousands right here in Collier County. It’s great to see so many people on their bikes, riding for recreation or fitness, making errand running a lot more enjoyable than going store to store cooped up in a car, or commuting.

Whether out of necessity (Collier County has the highest percentage of people in the state who have a bicycle as their sole means of transportation), to lower their carbon footprint, to avoid the hassles of parking or any other reason, more people bike to work than you may realize.

As part of National Bike Month, National Bike to Work Week is May 13th through 17th, with Bike to Work Day being on Friday, May 17th. This is definitely something employers want to encourage and something we should all consider trying.

Biking to work builds morale, encourages camaraderie and it’s a great way to get some activity into your day. Active employees are more alert, take fewer sick days, and are more productive.

Biking is better for the environment, reduces traffic congestion and it saves you money.

If you live too far from work to bike, consider bringing your bike (and helmet, of course), pick a location a few miles from work for you and some co-workers to meet, then ride the rest of the way in. (Just throw a small towel and some toiletries in a backpack and you can freshen up if you need too!)

If that doesn’t seem feasible, perhaps you can bring your bike and ride to lunch or organize a fun bike ride after work.

It may take some creativity, but I bet if you brainstorm, check out different routes to work, start talking it up at the office, and or even come up with a competition between co-workers or departments, you’ll find away you can bike to work and possibly even start a new, healthy habit!

Naples Pathways Coalition partners with the City of Naples and the Collier Metropolitan Planning Organization to publish a countywide map that is a great resource for determining the safest routes to bike or walk where you want to go. It shows bike lanes, paved shoulders, sidewalks and multi-use pathways. You can find them at all our local bike shops and many City and County Parks. You can view and print segments of the map here: http://www.naplespathways.org/helpful-links

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