Cycling to work is not a mainstream option in the US for a variety of reasons, many habitual and others cultural. Pollution and congestion on the roads are the obvious side effects, however it is not something that cannot change. Cars are not the way of the future, and cycling as a practical means of transport needs to be made more viable for everyone.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is a group formed in 1971 by activists. Their purpose was one part environmental and one part community focused, with the aim of developing a bike-friendly city. Today, San Francisco has evolved into a much more bike-friendly place, thanks to the hard work and dedication of a number of volunteers over the years.
Bike to Work Day is a well-coordinated event that is promoted to individuals, teams, and companies. It is a social event with volunteers set up across the city in refreshment stands, tune-up stations, and team incentives. Corporate teams are encouraged to ride to work every day for a month with prizes for participating teams. This is in essence the key to the movement. It is about a long-term goal of mobilizing people and enabling a cultural shift in perceptions and approach to transport.
SF Ride to Work Day is considered a success, however it is clear that there is plenty of room to improve cycling infrastructure around the city. The next steps from here are to continue the push, establish more cycle lanes, and broaden access to public bikes. Across the nation, cities can model off the success in San Francisco but also look to build upon it and improve to ensure that cycling is not just a past-time, but a viable and safe transport option for locals.