Archive for October, 2019

The Sitka Cycling Club (formerly known as the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition) will hold its monthly meeting from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Fisheye Organic Café (327 Seward Street). This meeting is open to all interested folks interested in promoting safe and fun cycling in Sitka.

Don’t forget, Fisheye Organic Café is one of Sitka’s participating Bicycle Benefits businesses. You receive a 20-percent discount at Fisheye Organic Café when you ride your bike to the café and show your Bicycle Benefits helmet sticker.

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; a discussion about covered bike parking, building mountain bike trails, club goals for 2020, the renewal process for our Bicycle Friendly Community designation, and other topics.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 738-8734.

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The Sitka Cycling Club and Sitka Tribe of Alaska will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, for the new Protect the Herring bike rack, at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi. The bike rack was made locally by Mike Litman of Precision Boatworks in Sitka.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Sitka Cycling Club’s monthly group ride will start there and be in honor of Native American Heritage Month. The ride will go to Japonski Island to ride on the new trail there, see Sitka’s first fix-it station (at the SEARHC Employee Health Gym) and visit the The Kootéeyaa Project totem, which represents the Native journey to wellness.

After that the group will ride to the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op (in a back room at the Hames Center) for a mini workshop on fixing a flat and maintaining your chain. All helmeted cyclists are welcome to join the free ride.     

For more information call Doug Osborne at 738-8734 or douglaso@searhc.org.

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The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Health Promotion Program is holding a drawing for six high-visibility jackets to encourage Sitka residents to be active and bright this fall.

The drawings for the six high-visibility jackets (similar to the one in the photo above) take place on Monday, Nov. 4. Sitka residents can enter at the Sitka Public Library, Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center, Tongass Threads, Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, and Blatchley Middle School.

Being safe and seen is critical for anybody walking or biking during the winter, and having a high-visibility jacket with reflective tape on it can help improve your safety while allowing you to stay active. Click this link to read more about the importance of being safe and seen, and how you can order free reflective tape from the Center for Safe Alaskans.

For more information about the high-visibility jacket drawings in Sitka, contact SEARHC health educator Doug Osborne at 966-8674 or douglaso@searhc.org.

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When you walk or bike through Alaska during winter’s dark months, are you making sure to “Be Safe, Be Seen?”

Even though a pedestrian may be on sidewalks separated from cars, you still need to make sure your clothes are bright and reflective. That way drivers can see you when they leave their home and business driveways and enter traffic.

Why wearing white is not enough.

Too many people in Alaska wear black clothes during the winter, including when they are walking or biking. This doesn’t give the drivers a fighting chance to see you before it’s too late. Not only is it dark during the winter, but in heavy snow years there are berms that can make it difficult to see walkers and bikers. Also, some drivers don’t wait for their windshields to fully defrost, so their vision is obstructed.

The typical driver needs 260 feet to stop at 60 mph, but dark blue or black clothes only give them about 55 feet. Red clothes are a little bit better, giving drivers 80 feet, while yellow clothes give 120 feet and white clothes give 180 feet (if you can pick the person out from the snow background). People wearing reflectors can be seen as far away as 500 feet.

This is why many Alaska walkers and bikers wear reflective tape on their clothes or reflective vests, even on short trips such as checking the mail or walking the dog. Click here to learn more about the state’s Alaska Reflector Program. The Center for Safe Alaskans’ Bike and Walk Safe Program will mail free reflective tape to people who call (907) 929-3939, or click this link. The Center for Safe Alaskans (when it was known as the Alaska Injury Prevention Center) also produced a YouTube video that shows how reflective tape makes you easier to see.

Don’t forget to put reflective tape on your sleeves, backpack, rain pants, bike helmet and bike frame, not just on the trunk of your jacket. And if you’re biking, don’t forget you are required by state law to have a solid white light on front and red reflector on bike when you are on the road after dark.

“I have found that cutting the (reflective) tape length-wise and placing it on the jacket exterior on a moving part of the body (such as around the wrist area), in addition to placement on the torso, yields high visibility,” said Lulu Jensen, Center for Safe Alaskans project director.

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Salty Spoke Bike Co-op project leader Alyssa Russell, right, accepts a membership check from Joel Hanson.

From left, Alex Bayne, Kobi Weiland, Jake Falvey, Scott Menzies, Charlie Lowell, Alyssa Russell, and Joel Hanson after a week-long bike mechanic training course in August 2019 in Sitka to prepare bike mechanics for the opening of the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op.

The Salty Spoke Bike Co-op will host a soft opening from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center.

The new bike co-op is a membership cooperative, and the co-op is finalizing its membership program and how it will work.

The Salty Spoke Bike Co-op was formed after Sitka hosted the inaugural Alaska Walk and Bike Conference in early June. In August, Scott Menzies and Charlie Lowell of the Susitna Bicycle Institute in Anchorage came to Sitka to spend a week training several people in bike maintenance and to help them organize the co-op. Scott and Charlie also hosted a one-night bike maintenance workshop.

Co-op bike mechanics will be available to provide technical advice to members about basic repairs, and they will fix up old bikes (such as those sold at the police bike auctions) to sell to raise money to pay for co-op expenses.

The Salty Spoke Bike Co-op also was a recent winner of a $1,000 grant from the Awesome Foundation’s Alaska Chapter. The grant was used to buy tools and other supplies for the co-op.

For more information or to make a donation of money or old bikes (checks should be made out to Sitka Cycling Club), contact Alyssa Russell at aruss947@gmail.com or Doug Osborne at douglaso@searhc.org or 738-8734.

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The Sitka Police Department will hold a public bicycle auction at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Sitka Mini Storage Units, located at 310 Jarvis Street (above the U.S. Post Office on Sawmill Creek Road).

Other miscellaneous items may be for sale as well, including a 14-foot two-person Sea Eagle kayak, a fiberglass dingy, a binder of CDs and DVDs, a set of box speakers, various air compressors, and more

The lost-and-found bicycles and other items will be sold as is, with all sales being final. To claim a bicycle prior to the auction, you must contact the Sitka Police Department with proof of ownership no later than 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17.

No coins or cards will be accepted. Cash or check only. You must have the funds with you at the auction, or the item will go to the next highest bidder. For more information, contact Jackie Ojala at 747-3245.

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The Sitka Cycling Club’s next monthly group ride takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Cyclists should meet at the new Salty Spoke Bike Collective (located in the back of the Hames Center, please come to the back door on the left side of the building and not walk through the wellness center). The route this month is from Indian River Road to the Sitka Cross Trail all the way to Kramer Avenue, and then back into town.

For more information, contact Doug Osborne at 738-8734 or douglaso@searhc.org.

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