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(This photo and caption appeared in the Wednesday, April 26, 2017, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with permission.)

BIKE PRESENTED —Mount Verstovia Masonic Lodge members, Jerald Neel, right, and Darrell Windsor, left, present a new bicycle to third-grader Noah Shell, 8, standing with his parents, Sam and Sabrina, and little brother, Eli, 4, at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School class recently. The Sitka Mount Verstovia Masonic Lodge is once again donating a bicycle to one student from each third-grade class, who are selected by their teachers based on the students’ behavior in class and display of good citizenship. Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop donates a helmet and lock as part of the prize. (Daily Sitka Sentinel photo by James Poulson).

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2016NationalBikeMonthFlier

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

Our National Bike Month schedule includes National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 4; the Sitka Bike Rodeo for kids on Saturday, May 7; our annual National Bike to Work Week (May 15-20) drawing for prizes for those who commute to work or school by bike during the week; a National Bike to Work Day discount lunch on Friday, May 20, at the Larkspur Café; the Julie Hughes Triathlon on Saturday, May 21; and the Sitka Community Bike Ride on Saturday, May 28, where we will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the first bike seen in Sitka (on May 28, 1891) with a ride through downtown Sitka.

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 also issued a press release about National Bike Month.

This year, those cyclists who ride their bike to work, school or on errands during National Bike To Work Week (May 15-20) can fill out tickets at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop for a chance to win a couple of prizes. There is a $100 gift certificate from Yellow Jersey and a $50 massage certificate from Oceanside Physical Therapy as the top prizes, with other prizes possible. The prize drawing will be at the Julie Hughes Triathlon on May 21. To donate a prize, contact Doug Osborne at dosborne@sitkahospital.org.

On National Bike To Work Day on Friday, May 20, those cyclists who show their helmets at the Larkspur Café from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. will receive a 15-percent discount on their lunch. Larkspur Café owner Grace Roller said the daily special will be called The Spokes-man, which probably will be a veggie burger “with goat cheese, olives, red onion, spinach, and maybe sun-dried tomato spread or pesto aioli.”

NBC_PeopleIn 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. 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 2016 goal is for 100,000 cyclists around the country to ride 75 million miles from May 1 through Sept. 30.

• 2016 National Bike Month list of Sitka events (PDF flier to print and post)

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WinterBikeToWorkDay2015Flier

WinterBiketoWorkDay2015Sitka 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 International Winter Bike To Work Day on Friday, Feb. 13.

This is the third 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. Last year the event expanded, 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. We also were the smallest community to have at least 20 participants.

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 to riding to work or school on Friday, Feb. 13 (people who work at home can use a bike ride for errands or sport as their bike commute). Then, on Friday, Feb. 13, during your bike commute, stop by the Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop (329 Harbor Dr.) between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to enter your name and phone number in a contest to win prizes.

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 738-8875 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 or non-biking and non-winter items last year.

Cyclists in the 2012 Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration ride on Harbor Drive underneath the O'Connell Bridge.

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