Blood, Phlegm & Bile:
Parenting with Humor

September
Cyclists Are Gearing Up for Bike to Work Day: Sorry, terrible headline


Do you know what June 23 is? National Yo-Yo Day? No, that's June 10. Insurance Awareness Day? Families everywhere gather to celebrate that on the 28th. National Chocolate Ice Cream Day? Officially that's the 7th, but as far as I'm concerned, every day is national chocolate ice cream day.

June 23 is Bike to Work Day! As your attorney I must advise you of an important fact pertaining to this event. Last year, the state legislature passed a resolution creating a permanent Bike to Work Day. Pursuant to this resolution, all residents of Colorado are required to ride bicycles to work on June 23. VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED TO THE FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW!

Wait a second. On closer reading, the resolution just encourages us to ride to work. But you should still consider biking in that day, even though you won't do any hard time if you refuse. Did you know that bicycle commuting is good for you, the state economy, and the environment? Don't just take my word for it. Let's look at some hard scientific facts:

  • Riding a bike is a great way to get your daily workout, and it reduces the stress of the morning rush hour. Studies show a significantly higher incidence of "road rage" on I-25 than on the Cherry Creek bike path.
  • Bicycle commuting boosts workplace productivity. After some fresh air and exercise, you'll arrive at work feeling alert and raring to go. Studies show that biking to work can improve your internet surfing efficiency by up to 16%.
  • Bicycling makes our city a better place to live. Studies show that taking a bike to work instead of a car reduces air pollution, traffic congestion, and Mike Rosen's ratings.

Still not sure you want to ride to work? The change from automobile to bicycle can be intimidating. If you are experiencing anxiety, this handy quiz will dispel some myths about bicycle commuting.

Q. If I ride my bike to work, I'll be sweaty and disgusting all day and I'll be shunned by my coworkers.

A. FALSE! Many experienced bicycle commuters maintain a leisurely pace in the morning to stay relatively cool and dry, then ride faster on the way home to get a good workout. That way you only get shunned by your spouse.

Q. Riding a bike on the street is illegal. Bicycles are toys to be used for recreational rides on designated bike paths.

A. FALSE! Bicycles are vehicles. Check out section 42-4-1412 (1) of the Colorado Revised Statutes: "Every person riding a bicycle shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle." The law is on your side! You have the right to do anything on a bike that you can do in a car, but talking on cell phones, eating McMuffins, shaving, and applying makeup are not recommended. Let's just use some common sense out there, people.

Q. Biking to work would make me look silly and undermine my dignity as a responsible professional.

A. FALSE! Who looks sillier, a happy cyclist gliding along in the fresh air and sunshine, or an uptight driver hermetically sealed inside a Hummer, a vehicle designed to negotiate the dunes of Iraq, not the smooth streets of Denver? Who looks more responsible, the rider of an environmentally friendly, fuel efficient vehicle (I get 27 miles to the bagel city, 34 highway; your mileage may vary), or someone who wasted $50,000 to drive around town in a military personnel carrier?

Q. Bicycling is dangerous! In order to register for Bike to Work Day, I'll be required to submit a copy of my dental records.

A. FALSE! If you follow the rules of the road and know the proper techniques for riding in traffic, bicycling is quite safe. And have you considered the dangers of not getting some exercise on your bike? According to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, you have a 1 in 397 chance of death from heart disease, but only a 1 in 376,165 chance of becoming a human crayon while bicycling. I'll take my chances out on the road, thank you. The bicycle is a lot safer than the couch.

Q. I don't feel comfortable about riding my bike on I-25.

A. TRUE! If you bike to work, your usual automobile route might not be the best choice. But our city has an excellent system of bikeways and on-street bike routes to get you there safely. And maybe faster. At the point where the Platte River Trail runs alongside I-25, I'm often moving faster than the bumper-to-bumper traffic. Caution: Don't get too distracted while gloating at motorists.

Q. If I ride to work, I would be unable to get home quickly in the event of an emergency.

A. FALSE! Let's say you're sitting at your desk when suddenly you receive a frantic phone call informing you of an emergency at home--your house is on fire, you forgot to take out the recycling, your favorite Andy Griffith Show episode is on, something of that nature. You have to get home fast! In such dire circumstances, you may qualify for a free taxi ride courtesy of your friends at the Denver Regional Council of Governments.

For additional, more reliable information, go to www.drcog.org. Ask your DRCOG about Bike to Work Day. Maybe you'll decide to make every day bike to work day. Not a bad idea, especially if every day is also national chocolate ice cream day

© 2011 John Hershey

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Parents are the bones on which children sharpen their teeth. - Peter Ustinov

John Hershey is a dad, a writer, and a lawyer (in that order). He writes a syndicated biweekly humor column about parenting and family life.. His columns have been published or accepted for publication on websites and in magazines around the world, from Maine to Oregon, Colorado down to Texas, and down under in Australia.

Blood, Phlegm & Bile: Parenting with Humor appears monthly on menstuff.org. But, why the gross title? Well, for one thing these are three substances with which every parent becomes quite familiar. They were also called the "humors" by medieval scientists who believed that the proportion of these bodily fluids determined a person's health and temperament. So it's a pun! A pun requiring a lengthy explanation, but a pun nonetheless. For more bogus medical advice and humor columns, please visit John's website www.thehumors.com or E-Mail



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