I am a bike commuter, and I just want to use this opportunity to say thank you.

Friday is National Bike To Work Day. It's an invitation for you to ride your bike to work, and hopefully enjoy it enough so that you will ride it everyday. (Or, if you're like me, just through the warm months)

Grand Rapids is blessed with close to 100 miles of bike lanes in the city, making it second to only Ann Arbor in terms of bike friendliness. Grand Rapids was once named the 36th most bike friendly city in the nation by Bicycling.com. Laws have been passed giving cyclists more room, and there are more cyclists on the road in GR than ever.

I know there was always been more than a little tension between cyclists and drivers in the city , and I wanted to take an opposite tact as we approach this year's event.

I have bike commuted to work from the Northeast side to downtown for more than four years now, and I can honestly tell you, it has gotten better, and I for one, wanted to say 'Thank You!' to area drivers, the 99.9 percent of you who respect us cyclists and look out for us with great care.

Yes, there are some of us cyclists who can be buttheads, and there are drivers who can be as well. But for the most part, there is less yelling, and more courteous driving and more cycling going on in the city than I have ever seen. I am encouraged by this. And it makes me want to keep riding.

So give it a try this Friday, even if for only one day. Ride your bike to work. you may start a habit that will make you happier and healthier.

Here are three rules I abide by when biking in the city:

  • Always wear bright colors. It makes you more visible, and more importantly, festive.
  • Don't use earphones. If you're going out to do some serious miles on rural roads, that's one thing, but city riding takes all your senses, don't give one up.
  • Assume that every car can't see you and won't stop for you. To assume they see you is to ignore how distracted a lot of drivers can be these days. It's called riding defensively.