Earth Day: Boom in biking is good for you and planet

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- April 22 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 crisis is the positive impact on the environment.

Driving has dropped dramatically, and there has been a big bump in biking, which is an essential business in our city.

At Trek Center City, bicycle mechanics are fixing a lot of flats and doing a lot of spring tune ups.

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"Business has been good," says Jeff Mori, the manager at Trek Center City. "We've been steady every single day."

Whether people are riding for exercise because gyms are closed, avoiding mass transit in a time of social distancing, or just feeling safer on streets with fewer cars. Experts say there's a definite uptick.

"Bicycling compared to the same time last year, was up about 470%," says Randy Lobasso, the policy director for The Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia.

The city has closed the entire length of MLK Drive to traffic to give people space to safely exercise outdoors, and there are lots of other places you can explore.

"The region has 334 miles of trails that are part of the circuit trail network," says Sarah Clark Stuart, executive director, of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and chair of the Circuit Trails Coalition.

To avoid crowds, head out in the morning or evening and venture onto roads less traveled.

"Boxers Trail in East Fairmount Park is pretty challenging," says Kathryn Ott Lovell, commissioner with the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department.

"It is actually named after boxers who trained there like Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali," says Ott Lovell.

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There's the Manayunk Bridge and the Towpath along the canal, Pennypack Park and the Cynwyd Trail.

"Biking is fun," Mori says. "I don't think most people realize that until they hop on one."

Trek Center City has set up a contact-less drop off system for service.

"We spray them all down," Mori says.

Bikes are disinfected before they enter the store and again before they leave.

You can test ride the bike for 30 days and all communication is done by phone with bike buyers literally window shopping.

"The emissions have been way, way down," Mori says. "For Earth Day, that's probably the best present we probably could have given it. Riding a bike can change the world."

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