May is National Bike Month, and Sitka cyclists will have plenty of opportunities to celebrate.
Not only is May National Bike Month, but May 8 is National Bike to School Day, May 13-17 is National Bike to Work Week and May 17 is National Bike to Work Day. These are great times to leave the car at home and take the bike to work. Click here to read Gov. Sean Parnell’s proclamation about these events.
Sitka cyclists are encouraged to take part in the second annual National Bike Challenge, which runs from May 1 to Sept. 30. This free national event is trying to beat last year’s total of 30,000 people riding 12 million miles during the five months from May through September (last year’s event was four months long). Riders can win prizes for participating as individuals and/or teams. Individuals also earn points for their communities and states. This year there are some Sitka organizations forming teams, such as the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus team for students and staff. There also are smart phone apps that can track your distance and record it.
This also is the second year of National Bike to School Day, on Wednesday, May 8, which is a chance to encourage students to develop healthy lifestyle habits such as riding a bike or walking. School districts have the opportunity to schedule special events for National Bike to School Day, and they can list them on the national site to earn pioneer status. Parents should feel free to join their children to ride to school that day.
One of the highlights of National Bike Month in Sitka is the Sitka Bike Rodeo, which this year takes place from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 4, at the U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka hangar. This free event teaches young riders bike safety, provides the kids with bike safety checks, skills drills and more. It is hosted by the Sitka Rotary Club, U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka and SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC).
National Bike to Work Week kicks off on Monday, May 13, which is when the League of American Bicyclists will announce its next group of Bicycle Friendly Communities. Sitka received its renewal of bronze-level status last May and this year Anchorage is up for renewal.
Each year, Sitka hosts a National Bike to Work Week contest where people who ride their bikes to work or school on May 13-17 can stop by Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop to enter a contest to win a $150 gift certificate from the shop and SEARHC Health Promotion. The more times you ride, the greater your chances to win.
Friday, May 17, is National Bike To Work Day and the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus will host its annual free pancake breakfast from 7:30-9 a.m. Ride your bike to the university and get free pancakes, eggs and sausage fresh off the griddle.
Finally, the 29th annual Julie Hughes Triathlon takes place at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, at Blatchley Middle School. This event is hosted by the Baranof Barracudas Swim Club. The triathlon features a five-mile run from Blatchley to the U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka entrance gate and back, a 12-mile bike ride from Blatchley to Starrigavan Recreation Area at the end of Halibut Point Road and back, and a 1,000-yard swim at the Blatchley Middle School swimming pool. A shorter course is available for children age 12 or younger. There is a $25 per participant entry fee for individuals and teams, and proceeds from the triathlon benefit the Sitka Cancer Survivors Society. Event registration is online this year at http://www.juliehughestri.com/. For more information, contact Kevin Knox at 738-4664 or e-mail email@example.com. To learn more about Julie Hughes, who died from leukemia in 1985 when she was 15, and the triathlon’s history, read the article in this week’s Capital City Weekly.
For more information about these events, contact Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or Charles Bingham at 738-8875, or watch this site for updates. Doug is supposed to be interviewed on the Thursday, May 2, Morning Edition Show at 8:18 a.m. on KCAW-Raven Radio, and when that audio clip becomes available it will be linked to this site. KCAW-Raven Radio also produced a story that aired on Tuesday, May 7, about National Bike Month from Doug’s interview.
• 2013 National Bike Month list of Sitka events (PDF flier to print and post)