If you have a short commute and a solid set of wheels, deciding whether to bike to work is a battle between your inner can-do idealist and your inner sedentary pragmatist. The League of American Bicyclists, which is promoting Bike-to-Work Week (May 12 through 16) as part of National Bike Month, is hoping you'll think of the sun on your face, the wind at your back, the toned and summer-ready legs you'll have in no time, and the happy wave of endorphins you'll ride all day. Naysayers, however, will point out that nothing kills an exercise buzz like hustling into your 9 A.M. meeting all sweaty. With helmet hair. After almost being mowed down by an SUV.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which transforms old railroad lines into paths for biking (and walking, and Rollerblading...), knows that not everyone can answer the "bike to work" call literally. "We just hope more people will introduce a regular biking route into their lives," says Rails-to-Trails' Jennifer Kaleba—whether it's for quick trips to the supermarket or Saturday-morning workout sessions. The conservancy's trail-finder search function (TrailLink.com
) lets you hunt for paths by city, zip code, route length, and surface type. For added incentive, check out 1World2Wheels.org
. There you can enter the mileage for one of your typical car journeys, and the site will calculate your carbon reduction, gas money saved, and calories burned if you bike it instead. Our inner can-do idealist sometimes overreaches herself, but numbers don't lie.Fold Steady
Weighing just 27.5 pounds, the folding Downtube 9FS ($359; Downtube.com
) is perfect for tossing in the trunk for a weekend jaunt. And thanks to its cheery design, riding it around your neighborhood will give you the same social magnetism as walking a very cute dog. Believe us, we've tested it!