Trek’s #GoByBike initiative challenges you to travel on two wheels

New campaign aims for 10 million trips and continued action on climate change
A woman in a helmet stopped on a bike holding its handle bars in front of a colorful mural
Photo courtesy of Trek

Trek Bicycle launched its new #GoByBike campaign on Monday, and the details of the initiative are simple: If you’re going somewhere and are able to get there by bicycle, try it out. With #GoByBike, Trek encourages people to choose bicycling instead of alternative forms of transportation at least one trip every week, with a goal of reaching 10 million trips. With social distancing in mind, now might be the best time to build a new habit of biking.

“Now is the time to adjust our behaviors for the better and co-design a new normal that will have lasting impact on our people and planet,” says Trek Bicycle President John Burke in a statement.

Many of us have tried our hand at new hobbies this quarantine or have rekindled a love for activities we thought we might never have time to do again — cooking at home, reading for fun, exercising during normal work hours and more. With the weather beginning to warm up, getting out of the house and spending physically distant time in an outdoor space can do wonders for mood, health and the environment.

Infographic from Trek Bicycle

Photo courtesy of Trek

The above infographic from Trek Bicycle illustrates the positive impacts of bicycling reported in the company's national survey.

The planet was changing rapidly before the COVID-19 pandemic, and even with a halt in all kinds of travel, the damage cannot be undone. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution contributes to 7 million deaths each year, and nine out of 10 individuals breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. But shutdowns and lockdowns around the world due to COVID-19 have shown drastic reductions in air pollution — a decrease of 60% in major cities like Los Angeles in a matter of weeks.

“At Trek, we are moving fast on climate change. We have hundreds of action items we are taking to reduce our environmental impact, but the biggest thing we can do is to get more people to actually ride their bikes,” says Burke in the #GoByBike statement. “This is bigger than just an environmental crisis — it’s a health crisis, and in many places a congestion crisis, which will only continue to get worse as people opt to drive personal cars more in an effort to avoid public transportation and social distance. It is our hope that by encouraging the #GoByBike movement, everyone can look back together and be able to say they played their part in shaping a better future for themselves, their family, their community and generations to come.”

The world is in the midst of all kinds of change, but the current observations on how reduced travel is impacting the environment are staggering. So how do we keep this momentum going, especially as states and countries ease back on restrictions and begin the reopening process?

In survey conducted by Trek, 42% of Americans who own a bike revealed they are riding to get out of the house and/or for fun amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and 85% of Americans perceive cycling as the safer mode of transportation compared to public transportation while social distancing. A local study from 2010 reported that 57,405 fewer tons of carbon dioxide would be emitted if 20% of people chose bikes over cars for short trips in Madison and Milwaukee. The #GoByBike campaign hopes to contribute to climate-friendly local statistics in 2020.

Hannah Twietmeyer is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine. 

To read more stories from Madison Magazine’s Beyond Earth Day section, click here.