May is National Bike Month again this year as it has been since 1956. Promoted by the League of American Bicyclists and organizations across the country that include community groups, bike clubs, and workplaces, and it shines a spotlight on the many benefits of cycling. Now that we are at the beginning of the traditional high cycling season in many parts of the country, this month is a great time to think about what cycling means to us and our communities and to encourage others to give it a try. There are special events and challenges though out the month, so if you want to be inspired and add more cycling to your life, now is the time to begin.
For avid cyclists, every month is actually bike month. But whether you are a confident rider and regularly use your bike for transportation and recreation or a newbie who wants to begin to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of flying on wheels, this month can be a special experience. Here are five suggestions to get you started:
1) Take a bike ride – It all starts with a ride so get the bike out of the garage, basement, condo, apartment, or house, pump up the tires, and spin the pedals. Your destination could be as simple as a ride down the street, or to a trail, to visit a friend, run an errand, or a brisk training exercise. For someone who has been commuting regularly bike month is a time to get creative and take a different route or ride a new trail. Explore on two wheels!
2) Take a ride with a friend - You can hang out with family and friends around a bike ride. If you have a friend who rides, meet up and share tips on routes and equipment you've found useful. If you know people interested in biking more, meet them and their bike and show them one of your favorite routes. It helps beginners to model the behavior of more experienced riders to gain confidence on the road. How about meeting up in a park and riding to a coffee shop or outdoor café to catch up? And don't forget about a meetup around brunch or a brewery!
3. Take the bike month challenge – For those who like to have a goal to get their wheels turning there is the Bike Month Challenge. This is a friendly competition between communities and workplaces to see which can get the most co-workers, friends and family to ride a bike during May. You log the rides you take anytime that are over 10 minutes to earn points. You also earn points for every person you encourage to register and log a ride in May. The point system is designed to ensure a fair and exciting competition, and to strongly encourage participants to engage new riders. You can use your points to motivate yourself and/or to enter prize drawings. The more often you log rides and encourage others to log their rides, the more likely you are to win a prize! The challenge runs the entire month of May and you can register on the Love to Ride site here .
4) Attend a webinar on bicycle advocacy - To get a perspective on the national cycling scene, plan to attend the free webinar on May 11at 7pm, Pedaling Influence - Building A National Movement for Bikes by Kevin Dekkinga. Kevin is Director of Membership & Development at the League of American Bicyclists, the promoter of Bike Month. He will provide an update on current initiatives being taken to make cycling safe and more accessible to all Americans and what we can do as individuals to help. This webinar is free of charge and sponsored by Earth Rider and the Chicago Cycling Club. Click to learn more and to RSVP.
5) Share your efforts on social media – Help build enthusiasm and share cycling joy online via your favorite social media platform. Trending hashtags are #BikeThere and #BikesUnite and #BikeJoy. Take a photo of yourself and your bike on one of your special rides in the month of May and post it. You can even challenge your friends to come up of creative posts, i.e. in front of a favorite small business, mural, or nature shot. If you want some images to get started, the League has great ones to download here.
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories