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Archive for February, 2019

The Sitka Cycling Club is recruiting new members, and all you have to do to join is take a free, short survey.

After several years as the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition, we recently rebranded as the Sitka Cycling Club. Now we’re having a membership drive, so we can show we have the numbers supporting us when we request bicycle infrastructure upgrades and safety updates.

In addition, members receive a monthly newsletter that informs them when we have monthly bike rides, introduce new bicycle benefits for local commuters, and more.

For more information about the Sitka Cycling Club, contact Doug Osborne at 747-0373, Holly Marban at 966-8938 or Charles Bingham at 623-7660.

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The Sitka Cycling Club (formerly known as the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition) will meet from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, at the Sitka Public Library.

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages. Topics include brainstorming ideas on how to grow our Sitka cycling club, planning the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference in Sitka in early June, discussion of a People For Bikes grant to provide new bike-parking facilities in town, the creation of a statewide biking/walking advocacy group (tentatively called Walk/Bike Alaska), a discussion about what we can do to make Sitka more bicycle friendly, and other topics.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 747-0373 or Holly Marban at 966-8938.

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Sitka’s weather on International Winter Bike To Work/School Day, Friday, Feb. 8, wasn’t very wintery, which may have helped Sitka finish in the top 100 in the overall standings, beating several cities with more than a million people.

Sitka finished in a six-way tie for 98th place overall with 20 points, matching New York City; Durham, N.C.; Osijek, Hrvatska (Croatia); Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland (Germany); and Getxo, España (Spain). Communities earned points for the number of cyclists who rode and registered their rides with the international website, inviting friends to ride, sharing photos, hosting an event, etc. The only other Alaska community ranked in the top 200 cities was Anchorage in 41st place with 67 points.

For the first time in the event’s history, a city from the United States earned top honors. Denver, Colo., won the title with 1,405 points (including 1,207 cyclists). Boulder, Colo., took second place with 1,174 points; followed in third place by Zagreb, Hrvatska, with 520 points; Gdańsk, Polska (Poland), in fourth place with 287 points; and Varaždin, Hrvatska, in fifth place with 264 points.

Нови Сад, Србија (Novi Sad, Serbia), which won the overall title last year and finished in second place the previous two years, dropped to 50th place and only 52 points this year (it had a record 1,393 participants in 2018). Besides Novi Sad in 2018, previous winners include Zagreb three times (2015-17), Oulu, Suomi (Finland, 2014, tied for 29th place in 2019 with 87 points), and Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (2013, when the event was almost exclusively in Canada, sixth place in 2019 with 241 points).

In Sitka, cyclists could enter a drawing at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop on Feb. 8. Becky Meiers won a headlight/taillight set from Yellow Jersey, and Katie Reilly won a set of used studded mountain bike tires from Andrew Thoms in the contest. Thank you, Bill Hughes of Yellow Jersey and Andrew Thoms for donating the prizes.

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The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition is changing its name to the Sitka Cycling Club and inviting new members to join the club.

One reason for the name change is to make the name simpler and easier to say. But we also want to get more Sitka cyclists to help us make Sitka a better and safer place to ride bikes.

Joining the Sitka Cycling Club is as simple as clicking this link and filling out this short form. Easy peasy, less than a minute and you’re done. By signing up, you will receive a monthly newsletter. It also allows us to say we have so many members when we lobby for better cycling infrastructure.

Some of our goals include:

  • New places to ride, single track
  • Better bike racks and parking options
  • Grants to pay for the better bike racks
  • A safe-passing policy
  • Incentives for commuters
  • Regular club bike rides
  • And lots more

Once you sign up, you’ll get a monthly newsletter and be the first to know about club rides and new programs, such as the Bicycle Benefits program that kicks off in March.

For more information about the Sitka Cycling Club, contact Doug Osborne at 747-0373, Holly Marban at 966-8938 or Charles Bingham at 623-7660.

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Sitka cyclists are hardy souls, and many of us ride our bikes all year round, not just in the summer. Now Sitka cyclists can ride and win prizes by participating in the seventh annual International Winter Bike To Work Day on Friday, Feb. 8. This year also is the fourth annual International Winter Bike To School Day also on Feb. 8, so watch out for younger cyclists.

Our celebration of winter cycling in Sitka will be simple. First, go to the International Winter Bike To Work Day website, http://winterbiketoworkday.org/, and commit online to riding to work on Friday, Feb. 8 (people who work at home can use a bike ride for errands or sport as their bike commute for the day). Then, on Friday, Feb. 8, during your bike commute, stop by the Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop (329 Harbor Dr.) between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to enter your name and phone number in a contest to win prizes, including a headlight/taillight set from Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop and other goodies from businesses around town.

This is the seventh year of International Winter Bike To Work Day, which started when several communities in Canada challenged each other to see which one could have the highest number of bike commuters. In 2014 the event expanded outside Canada, and Sitka and Anchorage hosted events along with several other communities around the world’s polar regions. Sitka ended up having the second-highest number of participants per capita, trailing only Oulu, Finland, in 2014. We also were the smallest community to have at least 20 participants. In 2015, there were even more winter cyclists participating around the world, and Zagreb, Croatia, became the first community to have more than 1,000 cyclists participate. Zagreb also had the most participants in 2016 (Sitka finished 107th overall, even finishing ahead of some large cities). Zagreb won again in 2017, but last year Novi Sad, Serbia, ended Zagreb’s three-year reign as the top winter biking community. There now are ways businesses and schools can compete.

For students, go to the International Bike To School Day website, http://winterbiketoschoolday.org/, and commit to riding to school on Friday, Feb. 8. All of Sitka’s public schools should be listed on the site (including the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus). Teachers can do a quick, 30-second survey about how students got to school to help their school’s Bike-Walk-Roll Score.

We encourage all cyclists to be safe in their rides. They should wear helmets, wear bright reflective clothes, and have working solid white headlights in front and blinking red taillights in back. They also should follow all rules of the road, such as riding on the right side of the road (not on the sidewalk) and stopping at all stop lights/stop signs.

We are still gathering door prizes, and businesses or people wanting to donate door prizes to the event can contact Charles Bingham at 623-7660 or charleswbingham3@gmail.com for more information. We are looking for items such as gloves, reflective safety vests, water bottles, helmets, etc., although some businesses donated gift cards, bike books, or non-biking and non-winter items in past years.

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