Local and national bike organizations are encouraging cyclists to ditch their cars this week for "Bike to Work Week," a national celebration aiming to encourage citizens 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 D.C. region for T-shirts, refreshments, giveaways and bicycling advice.
A map of all planned stops in the region is attached to this story.
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 Washington D.C. region, according to the organization: Participation has risen from a few hundred in 2001 to 11,000 last year, it said.
The celebration week falls in the middle of Bike Month and shortly after the inaugural National Bike to School Day last week. In the District, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Administrator David Strickland officially launched National Bike to School Day at Lincoln Park with students from Capitol Hill schools. Closer to Georgetown, Councilmember Mary Cheh celebrated with students and families at Key Elementary School after Metropolitan Police Department officers accompanied bike trains to the school.
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 .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 the District at the top of many categories, including the percentage of car-free households, at 35 percent.
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 from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA).