Summer will soon be here and the weather is beautiful. Now that it has warmed up, you might be looking for a good way to exercise and get around town. May is National Bike Month, and Friday, May 16, was Bike to Work Day.
Riding a bike is amazingly efficient. Almost 99 percent of the energy expended by the rider is transferred to the wheels of the bike. An average person walking at 3.1 miles per hour expends 30 watts per hour. Using the same amount of energy, a person riding a bike can travel 9.3 miles per hour, or three times as far as the walker.
Biking is certainly good for your health. A 200-pound man riding a bike for one hour can burn between 650 and 900 calories, depending on his speed. What better way to burn off those extra calories from dessert?
All this is to remind you of the “Don’t Be Fuelish” campaign. The campaign is a part of a communitywide effort to reduce fuel consumption, and this is the eighth year the borough has encouraged residents to find alternative ways to get around during the summer. Whether you ride the bus, carpool, bicycle or even kayak to work, as one person did last summer, you are saving gasoline and improving our air quality.
This year, Art Nash, the Cooperative Extension Service energy specialist, is coordinating the program. Local organizations will compete from April 1 through September 30 to see who can save the most fuel traveling to and from work without driving alone in a motor vehicle. The organization with the best combination of saving fuel when ranked by a weighted average of total miles, miles per capita and days per participating employee will receive the prestigious “Fuel Can Award.” There will also be recognition of individual achievements for being less “fuelish.”
Although some teams have been working at reducing their fuel consumption since April 1, it isn’t too late for you to get into the challenge. You can still register a team for the competition or compete against yourself by trying to see how much fuel and money you can save over the next few months.
Here is an example: It is 11 miles from my house to work. At $.56 per mile (current IRS allowance for mileage), it would cost $6.16 each way for me to go to work. The borough bus stops a half mile from my house. With a quick walk down the hill, I can be at work and save over $9 each day, after subtracting the bus fare. If I do that a couple of times each week, I can save some real money this summer.
So pick your poison. Walk, carpool, catch the bus, ride your bike or choose another method of transportation to get to work and save money.
Join the “Don’t Be Fuelish” campaign. It’s good for your health, it’s good for the air and it’s good for your wallet! Go to dontbefuelishfairbanks.com to find out more
Roxie Rodgers Dinstel is a professor of extension on the Tanana District Extension Faculty. Questions or column requests can be e-mailed to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 907-474-2426. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.