May is National Bike Month, and today is Bike to Work Day. Unfortunately, even after accounting for the persons hunched over laptops for hours at a time and presumably earning money that increasingly populate our cafes and coffee shops, there are still not many Beaconites working local jobs. There are, however, lots of people who are in a position to reap the rewards of bicycling by commuting to the train station each day, or using their bikes for errands in town.
Those rewards include not only the benefits of 5 to 20 minutes of being out in the natural beauty of Beacon and getting some gentle exercise, but also the potential economic benefits—for instance, giving up a second car could save a family $7,000 or more each year, not including parking permit fees.
Beacon is small enough and laid out in such a way that a healthy adult can get from one end of town to the other in well under 15 minutes.
It’s a little last minute to jump in on this year’s Bike to Work, but why not get the bike out of the garage this weekend and give it a tune-up? Here’s a simple checklist to make sure your bike is in good operating condition:
- Make sure the tires are properly inflated. They should give very slightly when pushed down hard with your thumb. Also check for excessive tread wear and any obvious damage to the sidewalls.
- Check your brakes. The pads should not be too worn and should meet the rim of the wheel fully when the levers are squeezed.
- Check for loose part. Be certain you know how to operate the quick release levers for your wheels. Tighten any loose parts.
If you are not at all mechanically inclined, bring your bike to a local shop for a tune-up. Peoples Bicycle in Beacon will be opening at its new location on Main Street soon, but in the meantime the shop is open at 72 Maple Street seven days a week, 12-7pm. Other local shops in this area include Wheel and Heel at 2658 East Main in Wappingers, and Bikeway at 1581 Route 376, Wappingers Falls.