The actor-turned-environmentalist asks commuters to ditch their wheels for a day

By Mark Dagostino
Updated September 18, 2008 10:00 AM
Credit: Ray Filmano/WENN

Matthew Modine has left behind the wide boulevards of Hollywood for the streets of New York where he prefers to get around by bicycle – and wants others to follow his lead.

“All people can be united by a bicycle – rich, poor, young, old, all religious backgrounds, all political backgrounds,” says the actor, who is best known for his roles in the films Married to the Mob and Vision Quest.

The star-turned-environmentalist is launching a charity event, Bicycle for a Day, to encourage people to leave their cars at home – at least for 24 hours.

“You know what the great thing about Bicycle for a Day is? It makes people smile,” says Modine. “You tell them about it and people go, ‘Oh, this is great!’ People say, ‘A bicycle reminds me of when I was a little boy or little girl.’ “

On Sept. 20, there will be a rally at New York City’s South Street Seaport to launch the event, and Modine has already got the support of many celebrity friends, including Lucy Liu, Rosanna Arquette, Kathleen Turner, Gina Gershon and Heather Graham. Plans are also underway to hold Bicycle for a Day events in cities all over the world in 2009.

“This is an excuse for like-minded people to gather, and encourage people who want to learn about alternative means of transportation,” says Modine. “Three of the biggest problems in the United States are heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. So if you get on a bicycle instead of in a car to get from one place to another, you help reduce the risk of all three of those things.”

As if that weren’t enough, Modine still has plenty of other good reasons for biking rather than driving. “You have an immediate positive impact on the environment. You have an impact on the health of your own body. You reduce the need for foreign oil. You improve the air we breathe,” he says. “It s just a win, win, win, win situation.”

For more information on Bicycle for a Day, go to