Bike Charlotte encourages commuters to give cycling a try this May

CHARLOTTE — May is National Bike Month, and to celebrate, Bike Charlotte is hosting events all month in the hope cyclists of all ages and abilities give riding a try.

May 17 marks National Bike to Work Day and throughout the week, Christine Webber with Charlotte Bike Commuters has been hosting group meetups for commuters to ride to uptown together.

“It’s so much easier, so much less stressful and it’s good for the environment,” she said.

Webber started riding in 2015, looking for a way to add more exercise and a little more fun to her daily routine.

“After the long day at work, if you’ve had a long day, it goes away,” she said. ‘By the time you get home from a bike ride, it’s gone.”

To start, Webber said it took a small learning curve.

“What do you pack? What do you wear? How do you get cleaned up when you get to the office?” She said. “It’s a bit of trial and error.”

Then comes planning out the safest route.

“If you’re coming from like along the south, along the Little Sugar Creek Greenway it’s super easy to get into uptown,” she said.

Webber said she tries to stay off main throughways, avoiding heavy car traffic. She said that would be easier if more of Charlotte’s streets connected, even if just through sidewalks and trails.

“We have a lot of dead-end neighborhoods,” she said. “They could be connected through cut-throughs and stuff that would keep you as a cyclist from getting on the main road to get around them.”

She acknowledged the city has already done a fair amount of work in this regard, especially around the Cross Charlotte Trail.

“Really it opens up an entirely new way to get from A to B so I’d like to see them do more of that,” she said.

The easiest part of the commute, Webber said, is parking once you arrive.

“I was paying over $120 a month for parking uptown and once I started bike commuting and using the train on rainy days,” she said. “That was an expense I got to eliminate.”

Webber said, in her experience, cycling has become the easiest way for her to get around on shorter commutes around 3 to 5 miles.

For anyone who lives that close to work, or maybe their grocery store or favorite brewery, Webber suggests giving a two-wheel trip a tray.

“Even if you only do it one day a week,” she said. “Every cyclist you see is one less car on the road.”

(WATCH BELOW: Bike 2 DC: Law enforcement cyclists to trek to Washington to honor fallen officers)

Michelle Alfini

Michelle Alfini, wsoctv.com

Michelle is a climate reporter for Channel 9.