Give Bike-Sharing a Spin during National Bike Month

Duke celebrates its 3,000 bike commuters with a free breakfast and bike ride in May

Claire M. Smith began biking to work in January.
Claire M. Smith began biking to work in January.

Update May 16, 2018: Due to the weather forecast for Friday, Duke Parking & Transportation Services has rescheduled the Bicyclist Appreciation Breakfast from May 18 to May 24. Please follow this story or Working@Duke on Twitter for updates on other National Bike Month activities

Update May 15, 2018: Due to the rainy weather forecast for Wednesday, Duke Parking & Transportation Services has moved the Duke by Bike event scheduled for May 15 to 12 p.m. on May 23. Please follow this story or Working@Duke on Twitter for updates on other National Bike Month activities

When James Nishimuta and his wife moved to San Francisco in 2007, they sold one of their cars, and James started biking and taking a train to work.

When he moved to Durham a few years ago to be a lab research analyst for Duke Orthopaedics, he carried over the habit of biking to work and never replaced the second car. He bikes 10 miles each work day from his North Durham home. 

“Whenever I do have to take the car to work I’m always blown away by how much traffic there is,” Nishimuta said. “Biking is much more relaxing and keeps me in shape without having to pay for a gym membership.” 

Nishimuta is one of about 3,000 employees and students who commute to Duke by bike. Duke will celebrate those community members with events for National Bike Month in May, including an appreciation breakfast and bike ride. 

“We want to show our support for the biking community and welcome anyone who’s curious about using alternative transportation to get to work,” said Matthew Cushing, transportation demand management outreach coordinator with Duke’s Parking and Transportation Services. “We’re here to show people biking to work can be done safely and comfortably.”

Here are bike events in May:

Bike Month at Duke Farmer’s Market – May 11, 25
11 a.m.-2 p.m. on the Duke Medicine Pavilion Greenway, outside of the Trent Semans Center for Health Education
 

Visit the “Unpark Yourself” information table at the Duke Farmers Market to pick up free bike lights and to learn more about bike sharing from Spin and LimeBike. Staff will also be available to answer questions about North Carolina cycling laws and the perks of registering as a bike commuter at Duke. About 1,050 bike commuters are registered with Duke Parking and Transportation. In addition to saving on the cost of a parking permit, they receive benefits like free daily parking passes twice a month and special discounts at businesses.

“Duke by Bike” – May 16
12-1 p.m. on the Duke Medicine Pavilion Greenway, outside of the Trent Semans Center for Health Education 

Join LIVE FOR LIFE (Duke’s employee wellness program), Duke Parking and Transportation Services, Bike Durham and Spin bike share for a 2-mile ride around campus. At the event, participants can learn how to get started with bike share. Space is limited. Register here and contact Matt.Cushing@Duke.edu with any questions.

Bicyclist Appreciation Breakfast – May 18 (National Bike to Work Day)
8-10 a.m. at Bryan Center Plaza

During the breakfast, which is sponsored by Sustainable Duke and Duke Parking and Transportation Services, employees and students can enjoy a free breakfast of bagels, pastries, fruit and coffee. Guests can also pick up cycling swag like tote bags, bike lights and key chains. Durham Cycles will offer free bike inspections and minor, on-the-spot bicycle adjustments.

Claire M. Smith plans to stop by the breakfast, her first as a bike commuter at Duke. 

Smith began biking to work in January after Cushing, the transportation demand management outreach coordinator for Duke, helped her figure out the best way to get from her Old North Durham home to her office in Wilson Recreation Center.

Smith, coordinator of member services for Duke Recreation & Physical Education, says biking 5.5 miles roundtrip helps her save money on parking and improves her mental well-being, a core area of the Healthy Duke initiative. 

“Being active makes me happy,” she said. “I feel more connected to nature and my neighborhood.”