Archive for May, 2015


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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may 22 bike to school day poster

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)

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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.

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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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Lauren Havens of the Sitka School District's LiveWell Program and Doug Osborne of the Sitka Community Hospital Health Promotion program hang a banner on the Crescent Harbor basketball court fence on Thursday (April 30) to promote National Bike Month in May. A full slate of events for the month is planned in Sitka. On Saturday the Rotary Club of Sitka hosts the annual Sitka Bike Rodeo at 11 a.m. at U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka. Wednesday, May 6, is National Bike to School Day, May 11-15 is National Bike to Work Week, and Friday, May 15, is National Bike to Work Day. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Lauren Havens of the Sitka School District’s LiveWell Program and Doug Osborne of the Sitka Community Hospital Health Promotion program hang a banner on the Crescent Harbor basketball court fence on Thursday (April 30) to promote National Bike Month in May. A full slate of events for the month is planned in Sitka. On Saturday, May 2, the Rotary Club of Sitka hosts the annual Sitka Bike Rodeo at 11 a.m. at U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka. Wednesday, May 6, is National Bike to School Day, May 11-15 is National Bike to Work Week, and Friday, May 15, is National Bike to Work Day. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

National Bike Month kicked off today (Friday, May 1), and Sitka residents are encouraged to find ways to get out and ride your bike this month.

2015NationalBikeMonthFlierWe posted a schedule of National Bike Month events in April, and we’ll continue to post details for individual events as we receive more information. So far our schedule includes the Sitka Bike Rodeo for kids, National Bike to School Day, our annual National Bike to Work Week drawing for those who commute to work or school by bike, our annual National Bike to Work Day pancake breakfast, a series of walking and biking safety assessments, a series of school presentations on bike safety to kids, the Julie Hughes Triathlon, a Southeast Alaska Independent Living-ORCA program bike day, and the Sitka Community Bike Ride and Cookout.

Gov. Bill Walker has gotten behind the cycling community and has issued state proclamations honoring National Bike Month. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities issued press releases about National Bike Month and National Bike to School Day.

NationalBikeChallenge2015PosterIn addition, 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 2015 goal is for 75,000 cyclists around the country to ride 35 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 exercise bikes or other 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. Two years ago we also 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.

• 2015 National Bike Month list of Sitka events (PDF flier to print and post)

• 2015 National Bike Challenge poster (PDF flier to print and post)

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