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Archive for April, 2014

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Sitka cyclists are encouraged to join with thousands of others from around the country as they ride in the third 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 last year, so it now is five months long and covers the entire summer. The 2014 goal is for 50,000 cyclists around the country to ride 30 million miles from May 1 through Sept. 30.

Participants 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 three apps available for free for iPhone, Android and several other devices, and their global-positioning system tracking will record your workouts directly into your 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. Last year we had a couple of workplace teams, including a team from the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, and more Sitka teams are encouraged 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.

• 2014 National Bike Challenge poster (PDF flier to print and post)

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Julie Hughes Flyer 2014 updated

The 30th running, biking and swimming of the Julie Hughes Triathlon starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 17, 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.)

For the third 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, 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 12-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.

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SitkaBikeRodeoFlier2014

As the temperatures warm up, two events this week will highlight kids’ cycling and safety in Sitka — the Sitka Bike Rodeo on Saturday, May 3, and the second annual National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 7. These two events and others will help kick off National Bike Month (May) in Sitka.

The Sitka Bike Rodeo is an annual event sponsored by the Sitka Rotary Club and U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka. This year’s bike rodeo takes place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 3, at the Coast Guard hangar. The target audience for this event is children age 12 and younger. Kids need to bring their bike, a helmet and a parent to this event, which will happen rain or shine. Here’s what to expect — bike safety checks, bike skill events (Demon driveway, Crazy crossroads, Rock dodge, How slow can you go, Circle and balance, and more), helmet fitting, bike registration, discount helmets, hot dogs, healthy snacks, and refreshments. The Sitka Community Hospital Injury Prevention Program is providing helmet checks and replacement helmets, and the Sitka Police Department will provide free bike registration at the event. For more info about the Sitka Bike Rodeo, call Sharon Bergman at 747-8641 or Shannon Haugland at 738-0602.

A Sitka student clips the strap on his bike helmet after riding his bike to school during the International Walk (and Bike) to School event in October 2008. Now there is a new and separate National Bike to School Day, this year on Wednesday, May 9. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson).

A Sitka student clips the strap on his bike helmet after riding his bike to school during the International Walk (and Bike) to School event in October 2008. Now there is a new and separate National Bike to School Day, this year on Wednesday, May 7. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson).

On Wednesday, May 7, schools all over the country will encourage students to hope on their bikes for National Bike to School Day. Some schools will offer special events and prizes during the day. So far no Sitka schools have signed up to host events, even though many other Alaska communities are hosting bike rides to school. But it’s not too late to organize one. To encourage safety, parents are encouraged to ride their own bikes with their kids as they head to school.

Just because no Sitka schools have registered events on the National Bike to School Day website, there will be at least two bike events scheduled that week in Sitka schools. The first is a dedication ceremony at a time TBA on Wednesday, May 7, at Pacific High School for a new bike shelter built by Pacific High students under the supervision of University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus Construction Technology Assistant Professor Patrick Hughes. The second event will be the distribution of 150 bike helmets and bike safety information from 8:30-11 a.m. on Thursday-Friday, May 8-9, at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School by the Sitka Community Hospital Injury Prevention Program and the Sitka School District‘s Live-Well Program.

Since it’s spring, here are a few bike safety rules for the kids:

  • Wear a properly fitting bike helmet (click here to learn how to fit a helmet). Not only is it a good way to protect yourself from head injuries, Sitka has a youth helmet ordinance that requires all children age 18 or younger to wear helmets when they ride bikes, trikes, skateboards, scooters and similar vehicles.
  • Right on the right side of the road, with traffic not against it. Older kids (age 11 and older) and adults should avoid riding their bikes on the sidewalks, especially downtown where there are lots of walkers (a bike can seriously injure elders who doesn’t hear the bike rider coming up behind them).
  • Wear bright clothes and make sure you have a working solid white headlight and flashing red taillight on your bike, especially if you ride when it’s dark. Wear a reflective vest or arm bands/leg bands, and put reflective tape on your clothes and/or bike frame so it’s easier for drivers to see you on the bike.
  • Know the rules of the road, and follow them. Stop at all stop signs and stop lights. Ride in a safe, predictable manner so cars know where you’re going. Use hand signals for all turns. Yield to traffic when appropriate.
  • Check your bike before riding it, especially the ABCs — Air (tires have the right amount of air), Brakes (the brakes work and will stop your tire so it skids on the pavement) and Chain (make sure the chain is the right tension and there are no damaged links, oil if necessary).
  • For more bike safety rules for kids, click here.

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2014NationalBikeMonthFlier

May is National Bike Month, and Sitka cyclists will have plenty of opportunities to celebrate.

Not only is May National Bike Month, but May 7 is National Bike to School Day, May 12-16 is National Bike to Work Week and May 16 is National Bike to Work Day. These are great times to leave the car at home and take the bike to work.

LAB_NBC_offsite-smallheader280x270Sitka cyclists are encouraged to take part in the second annual National Bike Challenge, which runs from May 1 to Sept. 30. This is the third year of the free national event, and the goal this year is having 50,000 people riding 30 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 three different smartphone apps that can track your distance and record it.

Another highlight that will run from May through September are the Sitka Pedicabs hitting the street for the summer. Feel free to flag down one of the pedicabs and take a short tour of Sitka, which is something tourists and locals can enjoy.

One of the highlights of National Bike Month in Sitka is the Sitka Bike Rodeo, which this year takes place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 3, 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 ClubU.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka and the Sitka Community Hospital Injury Prevention Program.

BTSD_2inch_ColorThis also is the third year of National Bike to School Day, on Wednesday, May 7, 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.

Two school-related bike events take place on May 7 and May 8-9. The first is a dedication ceremony at a time TBA on Wednesday, May 7, at Pacific High School for a new bike shelter built by Pacific High students under the supervision of University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus Construction Technology Assistant Professor Patrick Hughes. The second event will be the distribution of 150 bike helmets and bike safety information from 8:30-11 a.m. on Thursday-Friday, May 8-9, at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School by the Sitka Community Hospital Injury Prevention Program and the Sitka School District‘s Live-Well Program.

NBM2014_Web_250x250_ANational Bike to Work Week kicks off on Monday, May 12, 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 12-16 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 16, 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.

JulieHughesShirt-30-1Finally, the 30th annual Julie Hughes Triathlon takes place at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 17, 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 by email at bbsc.sitka@gmail.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.

For more information about these events, contact Charles Bingham at 738-8875 or Doug Osborne at 966-8734, or watch this site for updates.

Patrick Williams of Sitka Community Hospital and Ryan Kauffman of the Sitka School District’s Live-Well Program were interviewed on the Tuesday, April 29, Morning Edition Show at 8:18 a.m. on KCAW-Raven Radio. They will discuss the 150 bike helmets they are distributing at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School on May 8-9. KCAW-Raven Radio also will interview Jeff Arndt on Friday, May 9, about National Bike to Work Week and National Bike to Work Day.

• 2014 National Bike Month list of Sitka events (PDF flier to print and post)

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(This photo and caption appeared on Page 7 in the Friday, April 4, 2014, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with permission.)

BIKE PRESENTED –Third-grade student Kamryn Craig, age 8, holds her new bicycle after it was presented to her by members of the Mount Verstovia Masonic Lodge, from left, Brandon Foshey, Jack Ozment and Bill Bandy, recently at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School. The lodge are 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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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.

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