With over 92,000 riders logging nearly 38 million miles from May 1 to Sept. 30, the People for Bikes’ 2015 National Bike Challenge
surpassed its goals of registering 75,000 riders to pedal 35 million miles. The Bicycle Coalition of Maine
saw 230 Maine cyclists register for the national challenge and ride over 157,000 miles.
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy this fall issued a walk challenge of sorts with his report “ Step It Up
,” a call to action for more walking by Americans and more walkable communities in the United States. At a September launch for this campaign, Murthy noted
the U.S. has lost “the culture of physical activity.” The public health benefits of increasing physical activity among children and adults are many, including improved cardiorespiratory fitness and bone health, lower risk of heart disease and stroke, prevention of falls and reduced depression.
As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise — such as walking or biking — per day could help prevent the chronic diseases from which most Americans die, according to Murthy. Yet nearly half of the country’s population lives in communities where walking is difficult and dangerous. But there are ways we can make Maine communities more livable, walkable and “bikeable.”
There is a worldwide movement
to create more livable communities, especially for older adults. But not just older adults benefit from this increased attention to bicycle lanes and pedestrian and public transportation options. Millennials in Maine, like their counterparts across the country, are choosing to walk, bike, and use public transport at a higher rate than their parents and grandparents, the BDN noted in August
. We should do everything we can to support this healthier and more environmentally conscious trend among young adults.