Looks like Andy was right: Bike Month 2012 is barely out of the gates and the events are coming fast and furious. From 50 events in Cleveland, Ohio, to more than 60 events in San Luis Obispo, Calif., the amount of activity is off-the-charts. We gave this year the tagline One Ride, Many Reasons because we know there are countless benefits and incentives that inspire folks to start pedaling. But, clearly, the theme also applies the countless ways communities, organizations and individuals are celebrating.
Here’s just a tiny taste of what’s been happening in Week 1.
Advocacy organizations from coast to coast are capitalizing on May’s bicycle buzz. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is holding a Bike Month Poster Contest for local middle school students — and the top five young artists will have the privilege of pedaling with the Mayor himself on Bike To Work Day.
On the West Coast, the Cascade Bicycle Club is curating a Bike Month Video Extravaganza, inviting local residents to be the eyes on the street and capture on film areas of Seattle infrastructure that need improvement for those on two wheels.
Also in the Emerald City, King County Transit just announced that, during Bike to Work Week, cyclists will ride free on area buses, encouraging folks who may not be able to pedal the full way to try a multi-modal commute.
In Austin, the women-led Yellow Bike Project is hosting a Bike-In-Book-Swap this weekend for riders to recycle their old reads, pick up new ones, get creative with free bike crafts and participate in other “fun surprises.”
Speaking of art, bike culture will be on exhibit at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History this weekend, too, featuring officials posters from Bike to Work Week over the past 25 years and an array of bike-inspired jewelry, photographs, prints, paintings and sculptures.
Down the road in Santa Barbara, Bike Month kicked off on the cat walk, with local celebrities and residents strutting their stuff in the Velo Vogue Bicycle Fashion Show and “The Bicycle Wears Prada” social ride.
There are some fresh faces and resources on the internet, too. In the Big Apple, advocates at Transportation Alternatives debuted a new website — BikeNYC.org — that compiles events, bike-related deals and rider tips all in one place (curated by great folks like Shelma Jun and Susi Wunsch). And they’re not the only addition to the web this week: Kyle Wagenschutz kicked off a new bike-ped blog in Memphis, too.
City and state leaders took advantage of the national focus to advance their bike share programs. San Antonio started Bike Month with the big announcement of a $200,000 private grant for their new B-cycle system and, in Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley revealed the recipients of $2.5 million in state funding to study or implement bike sharing.
But it wouldn’t be bike month without the chance to win (as my colleague Katie would say) sweet prizes. Looking for some first-rate bicycle parking? Saris is running a contest that will reward one worthy community with a free bike corral. Dream of traveling to Canada? Performance Bike will give one lucky cyclist the chance to visit Quebec and build a Devinci bike with their own two hands through its 2012 Tour Devinci & Build-a-Bike Giveaway.
Columnists and bloggers across the country are promoting cycling, and over on the Huffington Post, Tim Blumenthal, president of Bikes Belong, is helping “Bike Fever” go viral, highlighting the rapid rise in the number of people who ride and the reasons more folks are saddling up.
Even Fox News is promoting biking. “Leaving your car at home” came in at #2 on its 8 Tips to Better Credit and Better Health this week. “If you live within a short distance of your workplace,” Fox Business experts suggest, “ride a bike or even walk to work instead of driving. Use the money you save on gas and maintenance to pay down any credit card debt.” Great advice!
And, last but not least, your Bike Month Moment of Zen:
How did you spend the first week of National Bike Month? Share the happenings in your community in the comments!
Carolyn SzczepanskiCarolyn joined the League in March 2012, after two years at the Alliance for Biking & Walking. In addition to managing the League's blog, magazine and other communications, Carolyn organized the first National Women's Bicycling Summit and launched the League's newest program: Women Bike. Before she crossed over to advocacy, she was a professional journalist for nearly 10 years.