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BIKE GIVEN – Mt. Verstovia Masonic Lodge members present a new bicycle to Keet Gooshi Heen third-grader Carla Coloma, 9, recently. Pictured are, from left, Carla's parents, Orestes and Michelle Coloma, and Masons Jerald Neel and Darrell Windsor. The Masons have given a bicycle to one student in each third grade class at the school. Third grade teachers are selected the recipients based on students’ behavior in class and display of good citizenship. Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop donates a lock and helmet to the winner. (Sentinel Photo)

(This photo and caption appeared in the Friday, April 22, 2016, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with permission.)

BIKE PRESENTED – Mount Verstovia Masonic Lodge members present a new bicycle to Keet Gooshi Heen third-grader Carla Coloma, 9, recently. Pictured are, from left, Carla’s parents, Orestes and Michelle Coloma, and Masons Jerald Neel and Darrell Windsor. The lodge is once again donating a bicycle to one student from each third-grade class, who are selected by their teachers based on the students’ behavior in class and display of good citizenship. Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop donates a helmet and lock as part of the prize. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson).

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Sitka cyclists are encouraged to join with thousands of others from around the country as they ride in the fifth annual National Bike Challenge, a free event that runs from May 1 through Sept. 30.

Cyclists can ride as individuals, for their workplaces or on other teams, and the mileage they log also will help their cities and states in the rankings. This event launched in 2012, but some changes this year and last year will make it easier for people to participate. The challenge was extended a month a couple of years ago, so it now is five months long and covers the entire summer. The 2016 goal is for 100,000 cyclists around the country to ride 75 million miles from May 1 through Sept. 30.

NBC_MapParticipants can record the miles of their commute to work, as well as logging their various errands around town and pleasure rides, just so long as they ride an actual bike. It doesn’t count if people use machines.

It’s easy to participate. Just go to the website, create a profile and log in your miles. You also can join teams from the website. For those of you with smartphones, there are several apps available for free for iPhone, Android and several other devices, and their global-positioning system tracking will record your workouts directly into your National Bike Challenge profile. The apps also will record workouts in other sports besides cycling, such as walking, kayaking, and even dancing.

There already are several teams in Alaska, including one called Sitka Cyclists that Sitka residents can join. In previous years we also had a couple of workplace teams, including teams from the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. We encourage Sitka teams to participate so we can get a little friendly competition going.

For those who miss the May 1 start date, if you’ve been riding you can back-record your workouts so long as you create a profile before the end of May. There are monthly prizes (awarded by random draw to cyclists nationwide who score a certain number of points), and additional prizes at the end of the contest.

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(This photo and caption appeared in the Friday, April 8, 2016, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with permission.)

BIKE PRESENTED – Mount Verstovia Masonic Lodge members, from left, Masons Darrell Windsor, Tom Brown and Jerald Neel, present a new bicycle to Keet Gooshi Heen third-grader Sophia Kibby, 9, recently. The lodge is once again donating a bicycle to one student from each third-grade class, who are selected by their teachers based on the students’ behavior in class and display of good citizenship. Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop donates a helmet and lock as part of the prize. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson).

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The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27, at the Larkspur Café.

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages.

Agenda items include finalizing our event-planning for National Bike Month in May, which will include our May 28 community bike ride that commemorates the first bicycle to arrive in Sitka 125 years ago (on May 28, 1891).

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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(This photo and caption appeared in the Thursday, March 31, 2016, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with permission.)

BIKE PRESENTED – Mount Verstovia Masonic Lodge members present a new bicycle to Keet Gooshi Heen third-grader Masin Davis, 9, recently. Pictured are, from left, Masin’s father, Jeff, and Masons Jerald Neel, Bob Purvis and Darrell Windsor. The lodge is once again donating a bicycle to one student from each third-grade class, who are selected by their teachers based on the students’ behavior in class and display of good citizenship. Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop donates a helmet and lock as part of the prize. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson).

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The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet from noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, April 11, at the Sitka Public Library. (NOTE: This is a different date and location than originally announced.)

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages.

Agenda items including planning for National Bike Month in May and the May 28 commemoration event of the first bicycle to arrive in Sitka 125 years ago (on May 28, 1891).

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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(This photo and caption appeared in the Wednesday, March 23, 2016, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with permission.)

BIKE PRESENTED – Mount Verstovia Masonic Lodge members Jerald Neel, left, and Darrell Windsor, present a new bicycle to third-grader Jomar Molina, 9, in Dianne Chong’s Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School class recently. . The lodge is once again donating a bicycle to one student from each third-grade class, who are selected by their teachers based on the students’ behavior in class and display of good citizenship. Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop donates a helmet and lock as part of the prize. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson).

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