May is National Bike Month, and Sitka cyclists will have plenty of opportunities to celebrate for 2015.
Not only is May National Bike Month, but May 6 is National Bike to School Day, May 11-15 is National Bike to Work Week and May 15 is National Bike to Work Day. These are great times to leave the car at home and take the bike to work.
Sitka cyclists are encouraged to take part in the second annual National Bike Challenge, which runs from May 1 to Sept. 30. This is the fourth year of the free national event, and the goal this year is having 75,000 people riding 35 million miles during the five months from May through September. 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, and feel free to join the Sitka Cyclists team if you live in Sitka. There also are several different smartphone apps that can track your distance and record it.
One of the highlights of National Bike Month in Sitka is the Sitka Bike Rodeo, which this year takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at the U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka hangar. This free event teaches young riders age 12-younger 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, Sitka Community Hospital, SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), and the Sitka Police Department.
This also is the third year of National Bike to School Day, on Wednesday, May 6, 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.
On May 6-7, members of the Sitka Community Hospital Injury Prevention Program and Sitka School District‘s Live-Well Program will host presentations at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School and Blatchley Middle School to teach the students about bike safety.
Paul Wistrand of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will lead two safety assessment tours, one walking and one biking, to assess the safety of roads/pathways on Thursday, May 7, in Sitka. The walking safety assessment meets at Sitka National Historical Park at 9 a.m., and after some introductory comments will include a hike along the Sitka Sea Walk to Harrigan Centennial Hall. Participants then will mount bicycles for a bike tour along Halibut Point Road to Sea Mart and back. After each tour segment, participants will complete a short evaluation form.
National Bike to Work Week kicks off on Monday, May 11, 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 in May 2012, becoming the first Alaska community to earn a repeat designation. Sitka became Alaska’s first Bicycle Friendly Community in 2008.
Each year, Sitka hosts a National Bike to Work Week contest where people who ride their bikes to work or school on May 11-15 can stop by Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop to enter a contest to win a gift certificate from the shop and possibly other prizes donated by local merchants and organizations. The more times you ride, the greater your chances to win.
Friday, May 15, 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. Don’t forget to enter your name for the door prize drawing.
The 31st annual Julie Hughes Triathlon takes place at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 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 14-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 ($15 for ages 12 and younger), and proceeds from the triathlon benefit the Sitka Cancer Survivors Society. Event registration is online this year at http://www.juliehughestri.com/. Day-of-race registration closes at 8 a.m., and the race starts at 9 a.m. For more information, contact Kevin Knox at 738-4664 or by email at 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 this April 2013 article from Capital City Weekly.
New this year is the Sitka Community Bike Ride and Cookout on Saturday, May 23. This event will feature a short kid-friendly bike parade through downtown starting at 3 p.m. at Crescent Harbor Shelter (or in front of Harrigan Centennial Hall, depending on the construction project). After our loop through downtown, at 3:45 p.m. we’ll start a longer ride to Halibut Point Recreation Area, where we’ll meet for our cookout at 4:30 p.m. We hope to have bike mechanics set up before the downtown parade and at Halibut Point Rec to oil chains and tweak gears. There will be contests for bike decorations, most visible bike, and more. For details, contact Sophie Nethercut or Sarah Komisar at 747-7509.
Finally, the Sitka office of the Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) program will host an ORCA program bike day on Tuesday, May 26, with a ride from 3-4:30 p.m. leaving from the SAIL office at 514 Lake Street. For details, contact Bridget Kratz at 747-6859.
For more information about these events, contact Charles Bingham at 738-8875 or Doug Osborne at 747-0373, or watch this site for updates.