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GroupPhotoAfterCommunityRide

MayorMimMcConnellLeadsGroupOutOfParkAbout 50-75 Sitka residents participated in the Sitka Community Bike Ride and Cookout held Saturday, May 23, as part of Sitka’s National Bike Month festivities and was co-hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society and the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition.

The festivities started with free bike mechanic checks, then reflective safety vests were distributed and Mayor Mim McConnell led cyclists on a short bike parade from the Crescent Harbor Shelter to Sitka National Historical Park and back (due to police staffing issues, our route was changed from the original plan to ride through downtown on Lincoln Street).

After giving out some prizes for the best decorated bikes, the cyclists then headed out to Halibut Point Recreation Area State Park for a cookout of rockfish, hot dogs and veggie burgers. Scenes from the Sitka Community Bike Ride and Cookout are in the slideshow below.

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Sitka will host its own Sitka Bike To School Day on Friday, May 22, as part of a busy National Bike Month schedule of events.

This event was a late addition to the event calendar, and it was added because Sitka School District Live Well Physical Activity and Nutrition program coordinator Lauren Havens and Sitka Community Hospital director of health promotion Doug Osborne wanted to have a chance to visit classes at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary and Blatchley Middle School to teach the kids about bike safety. Havens and Osborne were still visiting classes when National Bike To School Day happened on May 6, so they decided to host a special Bike To School Day for Sitka students.

During their classroom presentations, Havens and Osborne gave the students a bike safety quiz and they also gave them a special password for student discounts this month at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop. Students who ride their bikes to school on Friday, May 22, will be entered into a drawing for prizes at both Keet Gooshi Heen and Blatchley.

Students riding to school are reminded that there is a youth helmet ordinance in Sitka for cyclists, scooter riders, skateboarders, etc., age 18 and younger and helmets are required equipment. Parents are invited to join their students on the bike ride to school, and drivers are encouraged to watch for children on bikes in the roads. Please make sure your child is wearing bright clothes (preferably with reflective tape) so they are easier for drivers to see.

 

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Sitka Community Bike Ride and Cookout is the perfect way to celebrate the spring and National Bike Month in May.

Join us on Saturday, May 23, outside of Harrigan Centennial Hall as we host a short kid-friendly bike parade through downtown starting at 3 p.m. (get there early for quick bike tune-up and for contest judging for the best decorated bikes). After our parade through downtown and some contest awards at Harrigan Centennial Hall, we’ll bike out to Halibut Point Recreation Area starting at 3:45 p.m. for a cookout about 4:30 p.m.

Our bike maintenance specialists will be available to assist cyclists from 1:30-3 p.m. outside Harrigan Centennial Hall. They will be able to check chains, brakes, tire pressure and other minor maintenance needs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the cookout we will have hamburgers, hot dogs, fish, and other items to grill, but feel free to bring other food to share in case we have a big crowd. We held a community bike ride a few years ago that had about 300-350 cyclists, so let’s see if we can top that crowd.

Since we will be on busy city streets for this event, we encourage everybody to wear helmets and bright clothing for safety reasons. All cyclists should ride on the right side of the road (with traffic) and ride in a predictable manner. We ask drivers to be aware there will be a lot of cyclists out on May 23 and to please slow down and give them a safe space to ride. Thanks.

For more information, contact the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509

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SAFETY ASSESSMENT: Top photo: Sitka Parks and Recreation Manager Lynne Brandon, left, and Paul Wistrand of the Federal Highway Authority’s Juneau office, second from left, get set to lead a group of cyclists down Halibut Point Road on Thursday, May 7. The tour was part of a safety assessment conducted through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Safer People, Safer Streets” initiative. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx mandated federal, state and local communities do walking and cycling safety assessments, and Wistrand said they chose Sitka for Alaska’s first safety assessments. In addition to the cycling safety assessment, walking tours were held from downtown to the Alaska Raptor Center on Thursday and along Katlian Street on Wednesday, May 6. Bottom photo: Paul Wistrand leads a group of cyclists on a safety assessment that included Halibut Point Road. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photos by James Poulson)

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NEW RODEO CROWN: Sitka Rotary Club’s Connie Sipe fits a helmet for Kai Griffin during the annual Sitka Bike Rodeo at the U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka hangar on Saturday, May 2. Dozens of kids learned bike safety tips, rode through an obstacle course, received free helmets, had their bicycles tuned-up, and registered them with the Sitka Police Department. This year the organization gave out about two dozen helmets. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

JHT-31

JulieHughesThe 31st running, biking and swimming of the Julie Hughes Triathlon starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, at Blatchley Middle School. The event is a fundraiser for the Sitka Cancer Survivors Society and honors the memory of a young Sitka woman who passed away from leukemia at the age of 15. (Click here for an April 2013 Capital City Weekly article about Julie Hughes.) Day-of-race registration ends at 8 a.m., a pre-race briefing takes place at 8:45 a.m., and the race starts at 9 a.m.

JulieHughesTriathlonFor the fourth straight year, the Baranof Barracudas Swim Club is organizing the race, taking over event hosting duties from the Hughes family. Registration takes place online at http://juliehughestri.com/. The entry fee is $25 per person ($15 per child), and people can enter as individuals or teams. Participants are encouraged to have bike safety checks done at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop before the race.

The course is a five-mile run from Blatchley Middle School to the U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka gate and back, a 14-mile bike ride from Blatchley to the 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. There is a shorter course available for participants who are age 12 or younger.

For more information, contact Kevin Knox at 738-4664, or send an e-mail to bbsc.sitka@gmail.com.

CrossTrail

SitkaTrailWorksLogoSitka Trail Works will kick off its 2015 summer series of weekend hikes on Saturday, May 9, with a a lesson on geocaching taught by new board members Gio Villanueva and Jeff Cranson. After a short tutorial at 8:30 a.m. at the Sitka High School entrance to the Cross Trail, participants will go discover some local geocaches (bring a smartphone or GPS device, if you have one).

The series of weekend hikes are led by various members of Sitka Trail Works, and there also are occasional bike rides and kayak trips on the schedule. Most of the hikes near town are free, but some of the hikes require a boat trip and those have fees. The schedule runs through the end of August.

The City and Borough of Sitka and Sitka Trail Works recently announced the completion of one section of reconstruction of the Sitka Cross Trail, and a new section now is under reconstruction. The Cross Trail will be open during the work, which is expected to be finished by November 2015, but hikers should use caution in that area. In addition, Sitka Trail Works recently received a grant to help repair extensive trail damage caused last fall by a Sept. 18 landslide on the Herring Cove Trail.

On National Trails Day (Saturday, June 6), Sitka Trail Works and other groups will work on several Sitka state parks, which had their support zeroed out in this year’s state budget. Volunteers are needed for this work party at the Mosquito Cove Trail on National Trails Day. People also are encouraged to write letters to Gov. Bill Walker about the funding cut, which should be dropped off at the Alaska Department of Parks office on Halibut Point Road near the Halibut Point Recreation Area.

Don’t forget to check the Sitka Trail Works website for current trail condition reports.

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