For the majority of us in upstate New York, the morning commute to work is a solo trip in the car. Our relatively rural area makes public transportation an option for only a limited few. Factors such as weather and convenience can compel even those of us for whom walking and biking are options to drive instead.

The Otsego County Conservation Association is looking to change all of that, if only for a day. Friday will mark the area's second annual Bike to Work Day, during which area residents are encouraged to eschew the horseless carriage and find alternate, more Earth-friendly modes of transportation.

According to a news release from OCCA, Bike to Work Day is designed "to encourage people to choose an alternative 'green' mode of transportation _ biking, walking or even skateboarding _ to get to work or school, to run errands, or just for fun on June 4 in particular and as a lifestyle choice in general."

The event was conceived by OCCA's Otsego Regional Cycling Advocates committee, which, according to its mission statement, promotes bicycling and walking "as an enjoyable, healthy, safe and environmentally friendly activity for people of all ages and abilities."

We encourage all who are able to take part in this event, whether to have fun and enjoy what looks to be a day of pleasant weather, or in support of a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Many area employers and organizations, including health care providers, local schools and businesses, have signed on as "check-in locations" where participants can be counted. ORCA is encouraging competition between area businesses to see which can get the most employee participation.

We understand that, for some of our neighbors and colleagues, the car is the only practical way to get to and from the job.

But we encourage even those folks to use Friday as an opportunity to explore alternatives that may make commuting more efficient. Car-pooling may not be feasible as an everyday routine, but even sharing rides for one day a week would cut down on carbon emissions _ and gas costs.

While walking or biking may not always be the most convenient way to get from Point A to Point B, it can have other charms.

Stepping outside the car gives us fresh air, exercise and a chance to see our town or neighborhood from a different perspective. It may push us out of our comfort zone, but that's often a worthwhile experience.

To learn more about this year's event, visit www.occainfo.org/ORCA.htm.

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