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This photo and caption was provided on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, by the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with permission.)

BIKES GIVEN – Mt. Verstovia Masonic Lodge members Darrell Windsor, left, and Tom Brown pick up three bicycles at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop recently for delivery to students. The Masons are continuing their program to give a bicycle to one student in each third grade class at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School. Third-grade teachers are selecting the recipients based on students’ behavior in class and the students’ display of good citizenship. Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop donates a lock and helmet to the winners. Receiving bicycles were Taylor McCarty, Olivia Osbekoff and Jude Dart. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson)

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The 2020 Alaska Walk and Bike Conference is going virtual, and now it’s free. It will take place from 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, June 9-12. Click this link to register for the conference.

Each day’s agenda will open with a specialist discussing the science and evidence of that day’s theme, followed by another speaker who will feature an Alaska example. There will be an opportunity for attendees to ‘chat’ and share information after each day’s events.

The themes and speakers for each day are:

Some of our speakers include Ana Lucaci and Nicole Huegenin of Denver-based Walk2Connect, Dr. Elliot Bruhl of SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC, Chief Medical Officer based in Sitka), Bonita Banks BSN RN of South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alfgeir Kristjannson PhD from the University of West Virginia and Reykjavik University (Iceland), Maeve Nevins-Lavtar from the Municipality of Anchorage Department of Parks and Recreation, Dr Frederick Foote MD, Sarana Schell of AARP Alaska, Ken McLeod JD policy director of the League of American Bicyclists, Lee Hart of the Alaska Outdoor Alliance, and Scott Menzies and Charlie Lowell of the Sustina Bicycle Institute.

Click this link, https://www.kcaw.org/2020/05/18/alaska-walk-and-bike-conference-goes-virtual-this-june/, to hear Sitka’s Doug Osborne of the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and Anchorage’s Dawn Groth RN BSN of the Alaska Division of Public Health discuss the conference during a May 18 morning interview on Sitka’s KCAW-Raven Radio.

A tentative agenda is posted below. To register for this free, virtual conference, click this link, https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_u_Hpx4yzQtK4khFeIX5BMg. For more information, contact Dawn Groth at dawn.groth@alaska.gov.

• Alaska Walk and Bike Conference flier (PDF for printing)

• Tentative Agenda for the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference (updated May 28)

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May is #NationalBikeMonth and we want to see how you’re staying healthy by biking this month. Comment on this post with a photo of you riding a bike, whether it be outdoors or stationary, to win a $100 Visa gift card.

How to enter:

  1. “Like” SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) on Facebook or follow SEARHC on Instagram.
  2. Share this post to your page and post a picture in a comment on this post of how you’re staying healthy by biking this week.
  3. Use the hashtag #SEARHCfit and tag SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) in your post. You also can email your photos to Doug Osborne at douglaso@searhc.org by noon on Friday to be included in that week’s challenge.
  4. All participants are encouraged to wear a helmet, bike on the right side of the road, and follow social distancing guidelines while riding (giving 20 feet to other riders).

Here are each week’s photo challenge prompts. Post a photo of you …

  • Week 1, May 1-7, Riding a bike on the right side of the road;
  • Week 2, May 8-14, Wearing a helmet that is level, snug, and strapped before your bike ride;
  • Week 3, May 15-21, Riding a bike and saying what you enjoyed about your ride; and
  • Week 4, May 22-29, Riding a bike and listing your three favorite rides this month.

Every Facebook/Instagram post will count as one entry, so post more than once to increase your chances of winning. We can’t wait to see how the residents of Southeast Alaska are staying healthy and active.

Three winners will be chosen at random and announced every Friday afternoon. The winners will receive a $100 Visa gift card.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 738-8734 or to go the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium pages on Facebook or Instagram.

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The Sitka Cycling Club’s meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 19, to discuss single-track mountain bike trails has been switched to a virtual meeting due to the Sitka Public Library being closed. The meeting takes place from 6-7:15 p.m. by phone or by computer screenshare. We are hoping to have some new single-track mountain bike trails off the Sitka Cross Trail by this summer.

Here is how to access the meeting:

Please join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone, by going to this link, https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/382420189

You can also dial in using your phone, by dialing (in the United States), 1-646-749-3112, and using the access code 382-420-189#

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts, https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/382420189

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The Sitka Cycling Club’s next monthly group ride takes place at noon on Sunday, Feb. 23.

Cyclists should meet at the new Salty Spoke Bike Co-op (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 ride will consist of a one-hour excursion on the Sitka Cross Trail and end at this month’s featured Bicycle Benefits participating business, where participants who ride to the shop can receive a discount by showing their helmet sticker. All helmeted cyclists are welcome to join the ride.

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

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Are you looking for ways to make Alaska more walking and bicycling friendly? Sitka will host the second annual Alaska Walk and Bike Conference on June 9-13, with the theme of Walk.Bike.Roll. Creating an Equitable Transportation System For All.

While the agenda is still being finalized, but the plan is to bring in a couple of national speakers talk about walking and biking policy, as well as some Alaska and local presenters to round out the event. Our tentative national speakers are Ken McLeod, policy director of the League of American Bicyclists, and Ana Lucaci and Nicole Huguenin of Walk2Connect, a Denver-based nonprofit that has recently worked with Kodiak Walks.

The first two days will mostly be geared toward walking and the second two days will be geared toward biking. To get you out of the conference room, we hope to include group hikes, bike rides, a walk audit, a bike maintenance workshop, and other events throughout the week. Saturday features some free community events — a guided hike, a Sitka Cycling Club group bike ride, and an open house at the Salty Spoke Bike Collective. We will post a tentative agenda when it is ready.

Why is this conference in Sitka? Sitka is the only community in Alaska with both a Bicycle Friendly Community designation (Silver) and a Walk Friendly Communities designation (Bronze). This is a chance to see what works in Sitka, learn more about Walk Sitka and the Sitka Cycling Club and how they deal with some of the challenges they still face in their efforts to become more walkable and bikeable.

Prices for the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference are low — $50 for the full conference, or $30 for the two days of June 9-10 or June 11-12. This year we also will have a special half-day price for either a morning or afternoon session. There will be a couple of lunchtime events, such as lunch-and-learns, that will be open to the public.

Please use this website to register online. We accept online payments by PayPal or credit/debit cards, and if you select the invoice option there is info about where to mail your check. You can find more details about the event at http://walkbikealaska.wordpress.com. You can register at http://akwalkbikeconference.eventsmart.com (click on the event name and follow the instructions).

For more details, contact Doug Osborne at (907) 966-8674 or douglaso@searhc.org, or email akwalkbikeconference@gmail.com. We will have a limited number of travel scholarships available. To learn more and to get an application, contact Dawn Groth at dawn.groth@alaska.gov.

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The Sitka Cycling Club’s next monthly group ride takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14..

Cyclists should meet at the new Salty Spoke Bike Co-op (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 ride will consist of a one-hour excursion on the Sitka Cross Trail and end at this month’s featured Bicycle Benefits participating business, Spinning Moon Apothecary, where participants who ride to the shop can receive 10 percent off by showing their helmet sticker. All helmeted cyclists are welcome to join the ride.

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

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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 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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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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