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TheLEAGUE-BikeMonth

We are in the process of gathering information to put together a National Bike Month calendar of events in Sitka for May.

If you are hosting a bike-related event in Sitka — such as the Sitka Bike Rodeo, an informational lunch-and-learn, a community ride, a bike race or triathlon, a National Bike to Work Day breakfast for bike commuters, a bike/outdoors gear swap, a bike shelter dedication, business cycling challenges, etc. — please send the details to Charles Bingham at charleswbingham3@gmail.com. Please make sure you include the who, what, when, where, and your contact info.

A couple of dates of note for National Bike Month in May include National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 7; National Bike to Work Week on May 12-16; and National Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 16. We will be setting up a team or two of Sitka Cyclists for the free National Bike Challenge that runs from May 1 through Sept. 30.

Please email Charles any fliers you may have for your events as JPG or PDF documents (no Publisher files), and we can post them to the Sitka Cycling website. Here is a link to what we posted last year.

GSACBikePhotosAtBackDoor

The Greater Sitka Arts Council and the Backdoor Café announce the Alaska unveiling of Adventure Cyclist magazine, Bicycle Eclectic Photography display, featuring photos from their Open Road Gallery page.

The show will run March 2-31 at the Backdoor Café, 104 Barracks St. Look closely and you will find a former Sitka couple among the pictures. It is part of the Seventh Annual Sitka Arti-Gras Music and Arts Festival.

According to the Adventure Cycling Association website, the origins of the Open Road Gallery page came about because:

Every summer we enjoy the parade of bicycle travelers who drop by our office here in Missoula, Montana. These cyclists come from all over the world. Their variety of style, equipment, route, and purpose is endless.

In 1982, Greg Siple began recording our visitors on film and asking them to tell their stories, creating Adventure Cycling’s National Bicycle Touring Portrait Collection. The Open Road Gallery features selections from this collection in Adventure Cyclist magazine and here on our website.

For more information, go to www.thinkartthinksitka.com/

chart_5BikeFriendlyAllYear

WinterBiketoWorkDay2014LogoWidth600pxThe organizers of the International Bike To Work Day have released survey stats from this year’s event on Feb. 14, and Sitka ranked high in several categories even though we were the smallest community to have at least 20 riders register for the event.

On the survey question asking if your community makes it easy to bike all year round, Sitka tied with Oulu, Sweden, and Trondheim, Norway, with the highest percentage saying yes (about 80 percent). Sitka also ranked second, behind Oulu, on the question about how many people (per capita) were reached by the event. Oulu had the most people riding.

To see our previous articles, here is the one listing all of Sitka’s prize-winners and here is the one introducing the event. Sitka and Anchorage were the only two Alaska communities ranked in the survey stats. Let’s see if we can have an even bigger event next year.

• 2014 International Winter Bike To Work Day full survey results (opens as Excel file)

WinterBiker1

WinterBikeToWorkDayPoster2014BlueHeartCongratulations to our prize winners from the International Winter Bike To Work Day event held Feb. 14 in Sitka.

People who braved our snow and ice, a rarity for Sitka this winter, to ride their bikes to work or school that day were eligible to enter a drawing at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop. The following prize-winners can pick up their prizes at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop during normal business hours (note, Yellow Jersey is closed on Monday).

  • Dave Clark — a Rejuvenation with Kathy Smith body sculpt kit;
  • James Poulson — a bike safety kit;
  • Chester Miyasato — a copy of the book Salmon In The Trees;
  • Irbert Vega — a Sitka Conservation Society t-shirt;
  • Tracy Gagnon — a water bottle/car cup;
  • Brant Brantman — a water bottle/car cup:
  • Greg Johnstone — a pedometer;
  • Alli Gabbert — a pedometer;
  • Jasmine Shaw — a pedometer;
  • six random cyclists — bike frame bumper stickers; and
  • Nancy Behnken — a $50 gift card for bike supplies.

Many thanks to the groups who donated prizes — Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop; Harry Race/White’s Inc.; the Sitka Public Health Nurse Center; the Sitka Conservation Society; KCAW-Raven Radio; and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Health Promotion/Diabetes Program. Thanks to all who participated. This event is a great way to remind the community that several people in Sitka do ride their bikes throughout the year, including in the winter.

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Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska)

Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and co-sponsor Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i) on Feb. 7 teamed up to introduce the Safe Streets Act of 2014, which Begich’s office says will “create safer roads for Alaska families, children, and seniors by modernizing the way federally funded roads are planned, designed and built.”

If passed, the bill will ensure new federally funded roads follow Complete Streets policies, safely accommodating travelers of all ages and abilities, including drivers, transit passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Complete Streets policies make sure that sidewalks, crosswalks, and safe transit access are taken into consideration as roadway plans are developed. The Safe Streets legislation will increase safe travel options, like walking and biking, and help save lives.

“I’ve been a proud supporter of Safe Streets policies since I was the mayor of Anchorage and I continue to support them here in the Senate,” Sen. Begich said in a press release. “These policies lead to safer roads, less traffic congestion, higher property values, and healthier families. That’s why I’m pleased to introduce this common sense bill to strengthen our transportation infrastructure and enhance the quality of life in our local communities.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai'i)

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i)

“Too many people are killed or injured each year because our streets are simply not designed and built with the safety of everyone — including pedestrians and bicyclists — in mind. Our communities deserve safer streets,” Sen. Schatz said in a press release. “Many of our roads in Hawai’i and across America make travel difficult for seniors, families, youth, and others who are unable or choose not to drive. Our legislation provides commonsense solutions to consider the needs of our seniors and children, encourage alternative forms of transportation, and make our roads and communities safer for everyone.”

According to Begich’s office, over the last decade 47,000 pedestrians have died on U.S. highways. Two thirds of pedestrian deaths have occurred on federally funded roads. These roadways often lack Complete Streets features like sidewalks, crosswalks, and bicycle lanes, which limit access and create a dangerous environment for travelers.

The Safe Streets Act will require all states and metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) to adopt Complete Streets policies for federally funded projects within two years, and consider the safety of all users when designing new roads or improving existing roads, according to Sen. Schatz’s office. In addition, the Secretary of Transportation will provide resources to transportation agencies across the country with best practices for implementing complete streets principles for those states and MPOs. The Safe Streets Act of 2014 will ensure that effective practice and proven safety measures become federal guidelines, improving safety on our community streets.  Access to safe sidewalks, bike lanes, and other street features would reduce injuries and deaths, improve the quality of communities, ease traffic congestion, and allow for more healthy and active lifestyles.

“America’s streets should be safe and convenient for everyone, whether you are driving, riding a bike, walking or using transit,” said Roger Millar, director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America. “The Safe Streets Act is another sign that Congress is dedicated to making our nation’s streets safer and more open to everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, ethnicity or transportation choice.”

The Safe Streets Act is supported by the following organizations: AARP; National Association of Realtors; Smart Growth America; National Complete Streets Coalition; American Planning Association; American Public Transportation Association; Transportation for America; Easter Seals; Safe Routes to School National Partnership; American Society of Landscape Architects; America Walks; and the League of American Bicyclists.

The bill is S. 2004, “a bill to ensure the safety of all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, children, older individuals, and individuals with disabilities, as they travel on and across federally funded streets and highways.” There is a companion bill in the House of Representatives, the Safe Streets Act of 2013 (H.R. 2468), which was introduced by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by Rep. David Joyce (R-Ill.) and 17 others.

• One-page information sheet about the Safe Streets Act of 2014

PerryEdwardsSpeaks

SCS_bikeshelter_inviteOn Tuesday, Jan. 28, Sitka residents gathered together near the Sitka Sound Science Center to dedicate a new covered bike shelter built using second-growth timber from the Tongass National Forest. Before the dedication ceremony, a group of cyclists led by Sitka Assembly member Phyllis Hackett and including a small girl on a pushbike held a community bike ride from Totem Square to the new shelter.

The new shelter (link goes to previous post announcing dedication ceremony) was constructed by students of recently retired Sitka High School construction instructor Randy Hughey and community volunteers. It was designed by Dan Sheehan to use second-growth timber from the Tongass National Forest. The shelter is part of a project coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society and funded through theNational Forest Foundation’s Community Capacity and Land Stewardship program.

The dedication was led by Sitka Conservation Society employees Ray Friedlander and Marjorie Hennessy, and included a few words from Hackett, Perry Edwards of the U.S. Forest Service-Sitka Ranger District, Sitka Sound Science Center Executive Director Lisa Busch, and Hughey, Hennessey also presented Hughey with a few gifts for leading the construction. After the ceremony, there was a reception at the Sitka Sound Science Center with salmon chowder and locally produced root beer from the Baranof Island Brewing Company. Click here for KCAW-Raven Radio‘s story about the dedication ceremony.

• Two-page flier from Sitka Conservation Society about the young-growth timber used to build this bike shelter

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WinterBikeToWorkDayPoster2014BlueHeart

WinterBiketoWorkDay2014LogoWidth600pxSitka cyclists are hardy souls, and many of us ride our bikes all year round, not just in the summer. Now Sitka cyclists can ride and win prizes by participating in International Winter Bike To Work Day on Friday, Feb. 14.

This is the second year of International Winter Bike To Work Day, which started when several communities in Canada challenged each other to see which one could have the highest number of bike commuters. This year the event has expanded, and Sitka and Anchorage have committed to hosting events. Let’s see if we can get more bike commuters on their bikes on Feb. 14, so we can beat Anchorage and any other Alaska communities that decide to participate.

Our celebration of winter cycling in Sitka will be simple. First, go to the International Winter Bike To Work Day website, http://winterbiketoworkday.org/, and commit to riding to work or school on Friday, Feb. 14 (people who work at home can use a bike ride for errands or sport as their bike commute). Then, on Friday, Feb. 14, during your bike commute, stop by the Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop (329 Harbor Dr.) between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to enter your name and phone number in a contest to win prizes. We encourage all cyclists to wear helmets, wear bright reflective clothes, have working solid white headlights and blinking red taillights, and follow all rules of the road, such as riding on the right side of the road (not on the sidewalk) and stop at all stop lights/stop signs.

So far we have prize donations from Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, Sitka Conservation Society, the Sitka Public Health Nurse Clinic, KCAW-Raven Radio, and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Health Promotion-Diabetes Program. Businesses and people wanting to donate more prizes to the event can contact Charles Bingham at 738-8875 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com for more information.

Cyclists in the 2012 Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration ride on Harbor Drive underneath the O'Connell Bridge.

Cyclists in the 2012 Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration ride on Harbor Drive underneath the O’Connell Bridge.

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