Local and national bike organizations are encouraging cyclists to ditch their cars this week for Bike to Work Week, a national celebration that aims to encourage people across the country to bike to work — or for pleasure — on a regular basis.
The week culminates in Bike to Work Day on Friday, held rain or shine, when cyclists can make a "pit stop" at one of 58 locations across the Washington metro region.
Registration for Herndon's Bike to Work Day pit stop is open now. Herndon's stop will be located at the Town Hall Green, near the intersection of Lynn and Elden streets, just off the W&OD Trail. The pit stop will be open from 5:30-10 a.m.
Herndon's police officers will be on hand to register riders' bikes. Riders can also stop for refreshments, raffles, prizes and other activities happening throughout the morning. The first 8,500 people to register will receive a free T-shirt when they stop into their designated pit stop.
Including Herndon's, there are nine pit stops planned across Fairfax County. Two of the most popular stops are in Reston and Vienna. There will also be pit stops near Merrifield, and at Tysons Corner Center, in front of the LL Bean store. Check the Bike to Work Day website for details on the pit stops.
U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Arlington County Board member Jay Fisette are scheduled to participate in Bike to Work Day in Rosslyn, and County Board Vice Chairman Walter Tejada is listed as participating in Ballston, according to event organizers.
The national celebration dates back to 1956, when the League of American Bicyclists started the public outreach campaign and event to encourage more biking. Since then, it's grown tenfold in the greater Washington region: Participation has risen from a few hundred in 2001 to 11,000 last year, according to the organization.
The celebration week, which falls shortly after the , comes at a time when Fairfax County officials with no operating budget. That county is looking to Arlington as a model.
Data from the American Community Survey shows Washington, D.C., as one of the country's 70 largest bicycling cities, with 3.1 percent of the total worker population reporting they bike to work — a statistic six times greater than the national average of 0.5 percent.
The League attributes the "bicycle friendly" cities' successes, in part, to the degree in which it promotes bicycling through education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and engineering.
A new report on the region's bicycling trends out of The Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute at Penn State shows Arlington at or near the top in most categories — 11 percent of Arlington County households are car-free, for instance, compared to 4 percent in Fairfax County.
Cyclists are encouraged to stop at as many pit stops as they'd like on Friday, but will need to register at one in order to pick up their free T-shirt.
For safety and commuting tips, check out advice the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA).