You may think that riding a bicycle is only for reckless teens and hard-core city couriers, but, to go green, many Americans are remembering the virtues of going on pedal patrol. Bicycle commuting is way up across the country, from New York City to Portland, Oregon. Bike lanes are being laid down in towns and big cities, and as a result, drivers are finally learning to share the road.
Of course, biking is not just an earth-friendly way to get around, it’s also great exercise. Don’t worry too much about sweating out your hair or suit—it gets easier. And for those with uphill commutes, there are a growing number of slightly pricier motorized bicycles that recharge with every pedal pump.
Or try finding a used bicycle on Craigslist or in local thrift stores. Invest in a good lock. And, if you live in one of the few cities that is trying out a sponsored bike-sharing program (like the Zipcar phenomenon, but with bikes), consider subscribing. More than half of all Americans live less than five miles from where they work—and using bikes to get there is far more exhilarating than sitting in traffic and perfect for short jaunts to the store or to meet up with friends. Just watch out for swinging car doors—and always, always wear a helmet.
Covers the White House and Washington for The Root. Follow her on Twitter.