I made the 30 days of biking pledge. You should too!

Four years ago I heard about the 30 days of biking challenge to ride your bike every day in April. Any distance, any destination. I needed to shake things up after weeks of working long hours with not enough fresh air. I was in.

The 30-day challenge started in April 2010 among friends in Minneapolis and has grown into a worldwide community of joyful cyclists. Last year, more than 6,000 people signed up and lots of them are sharing their #30daysofbiking adventures on social media.

Making the pledge online at 30DOB.com was simple enough. Getting it done every day took a bit of determination, but there have been plenty of rewards that have motivated me to do the challenge every year since then.

New territory. Riding every day spurred me to venture beyond my usual routes. It became a game to see how many places I could pedal to in a month. We have a large network of greenways in St. Louis with miles of trails to explore. Less than 5 miles from home, I found the Meramec Greenway, a levee trail through the wetlands in Valley Park where you can spot an eagle or a heron if you’re lucky. The trail is now a favorite for a short ride.

On another day, I ventured into the city for a conference at Union Station and found plenty of bike lanes and quiet neighborhood streets to ride on. I have cycled to yoga class, the dentist, the chiropractor, and the ice cream shop. All those new destinations changed how I thought about biking.

New riding pals. You meet lots of fun, friendly people on a bike, and group rides are a great way to find new routes and places to hang out for coffee or a bite to eat. Bike shop rides and local cycling groups are gearing up for the season now. You can check out some of those groups with upcoming rides on this 30 Days of Biking in St. Louis calendar and follow the action in St. Louis on Facebook.

Better balance. Work-life balance can be a challenge for many of us. It’s easy to get deep into a project and let days go by with no exercise. Any ride, even a quick spin on the trainer or out to the nearest coffee shop is a good break for the brain and the body. If you miss a day, don’t sweat it. Just get out there the next day. Getting into the mindset of riding every day guarantees me a daily dose of happiness.

There are plenty more reasons why people are making the pledge. Just feeling like part of a larger community is motivating. Give it a try! Join the movement of people who are making cycling part of everyday life and share your #30daysofbiking adventures. Pretty soon, you’ll get the hang of biking every day just for the pure joy of doing so.

Janice Branham is a contributor to Terrain Magazine
Image: Courtesy the Maryland Plaza Tuesday Night Riders. Join them for a St. Louis 30 days of biking kickoff ride April 1.