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The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, July 21, at the North Sister Crepes and Juice Company (located on Seward Street next to Subway). Please note this is a change of location from where we usually meet.

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages. Topics include planning for the commuter bike portion of a summer fitness challenge that starts in August.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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Sitka Mayor Matt Hunter is a regular bike commuter to his job teaching at Mount Edgecumbe High School.

National Bike To Work Week is May 15-19, and Sitka residents are encouraged to get on their bikes and ride this week. Also, Friday, May 19, is National Bike To Work Day.

Forty percent of people have commutes of less than two miles, which makes cycling to work about as time-consuming as driving. Not only is biking to work healthy, but it reduces pollution in the environment. Commuting by bike also is a great way to jump-start your day with a short workout.

This year, those cyclists who ride their bike to work, school or on errands during National Bike To Work Week can fill out tickets at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop for a chance to win prizes, including a $100 gift certificate from Yellow Jersey and other prizes possible. The prize drawing will be at the Julie Hughes Triathlon on May 20. You fill in one ticket for each trip to work or home by bike.

On National Bike To Work Day on Friday, May 19, and the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will hold its monthly meeting at noon at the North Sisters Crepes and Juice Company‘s new location at 327 Seward St. (next to Subway). This meeting is open to the public.

In 2016, Sitka found out it had been upgraded to a Silver level designation in the Bicycle Friendly Community program. We were Alaska’s first Bicycle Friendly Community in 2008, and the first to renew in 2012, earning a Bronze award both times. In 2016, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Sitka Campus earned a renewal of its Bronze award in the Bicycle Friendly Business program (it originally won the designation in 2011).

For more information, contact Doug Osborne at 747-0373 or Charles Bingham at 623-7660.

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National Bike Month kicks off Monday, May 1, and Sitka residents are encouraged to find ways to get out and ride your bike this month. Help Sitka show why it earned an upgrade to the Silver level of the Bicycle Friendly Community program in 2016, and was featured on the cover of the Winter 2017 edition of Bicycle Friendly America magazine in February.

Our National Bike Month schedule includes the Sitka Community Bike Ride on Saturday, May 6, where we celebrate the 126th anniversary of the first bike seen in Sitka (in May 1891) with a ride through downtown Sitka. Also on the agenda are National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 10; the Sitka Bike Rodeo for kids on Saturday, May 13; our annual National Bike to Work Week (May 15-19) drawing for prizes for those who commute to work or school by bike during the week; a Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition monthly meeting on National Bike To Work Day on Friday, May 19; the Julie Hughes Triathlon on Saturday, May 20; and the Sitka Trail Works Cross Trail guided bike ride on Saturday, May 27.

This year, those cyclists who ride their bike to work, school or on errands during National Bike To Work Week (May 15-19) can fill out tickets at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate from Yellow Jersey, with other prizes possible. The prize drawing will be at the Julie Hughes Triathlon on May 20. To donate a prize, contact Doug Osborne at dosborne@sitkahospital.org.

This year, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is updating the Alaska Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, and Sitka cyclists can submit feedback on the website. This is important since Alaska’s last update to the plan was more than 20 years ago (1994).

In 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 in the National Bike Challenge as individuals, for their workplaces or on other teams, and the mileage they log also will help their cities and states in the rankings. Last year more than 45,000 cyclists rode nearly 25 million miles during the five months of the National Bike Challenge.

• 2017 National Bike Month list of Sitka events (PDF flier to print and post)

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Sitka cyclists are encouraged to join with thousands of others from around the country as they ride in the sixth 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 a couple of years ago, so it now is five months long and covers the entire summer. During the 2016 National Bike Challenge, 45,982 cyclists rode 24,749,196 miles.

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 outdoors. It doesn’t count if people use machines or trainers.

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, you can create a profile on Strava and the app’s global-positioning system tracking will record your workouts directly into your National Bike Challenge profile. For each day you ride, you receive 20 points plus one point for each mile ridden.

There already are several teams in Alaska, including one called Sitka Cyclists that Sitka residents can join. In previous years we also had a couple of workplace teams, including teams from the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. We encourage Sitka teams to participate 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 at least 100 points in the month), and additional prizes at the end of the contest.

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Cyclists pose before the Sitka Community Bike Ride on Saturday, May 28, 2016, through downtown Sitka. The event also celebrated the 125th anniversary of the first recorded arrival of a bicycle in Sitka, which arrived at this dock.

The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 30, at the Larkspur Café (NOTE: This is a change of date from what originally was announced).

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages. Topics include planning a series of events for the upcoming National Bike Month in May (as well as National Bike To Work Week/Day and National Bike To School Day events), and planning for a “Ride ‘Em All” program this summer to encourage cyclists to ride every road and trail in Sitka.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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winterbiketoworkdayflier2017

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 fifth annual International Winter Bike To Work Day on Friday, Feb. 10. This year also is the second annual International Winter Bike To School Day on Feb. 10, so watch out for younger cyclists.

billhughesbillfosteronbikesOur 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 to riding to work on Friday, Feb. 10 (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. 10, 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 gift card from Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop and a high-visibility jacket from Sitka Community Hospital.

This is the fifth 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).

For students, go to the International Bike To School Day website, http://winterbiketoschoolday.org/, and commit to riding to school on Friday, Feb. 10. 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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Doug Osborne, front, wears one of the GAGE high-visibility jackets during the Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration in January 2012. Sitka Community Hospital will distribute 18 of the high-visibility jackets to walkers and cyclists during an event Wednesday night at the Stratton Library.

Doug Osborne, front, leads cyclists during the Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration in January 2012.

The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at the Larkspur Café.

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages. Topics include the recent Bicycle Friendly Business award renewal for the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and discussion of how we can get other Sitka businesses to apply, planning for the upcoming International Winter Bike to Work/School Day events on Feb. 10, and planning for a “Ride ‘Em All” program this summer to encourage cyclists to ride every road and trail in Sitka.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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