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May is National Bike Month, so where will your bike take you this month in Sitka?

While there are a few annual events in Sitka that aren’t happening this year due to Covid still being around, such as the Sitka Bike Rodeo and the Julie Hughes Triathlon, we still have a full calendar of bike events for the month.

First, Sitka residents can register for the free National Bike Challenge, which runs from May 1 through the end of September. This is a national event, and you can win prizes.

There also is the Move For A Cause Challenge, from the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). This free event is for residents of Southeast Alaska and runs the entire month of May. People can bike, hike, walk, or run their way to better health and a chance to win prize drawings.

If you’re wanting to help Sitka build more single-track mountain bike trails, there will be a volunteer work party from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 1. Meet at the trailhead to 907, the first single-track loop we built last year off the Cross Trail, and bring your gloves, sturdy boots, masks, etc. There also will be weekly trail-building work parties from 4-6 p.m. on Tuesdays. You can sign up to volunteer at this website, https://eventcreate.com/e/sitkasingletrack. Please register so we can make sure we have enough space to spread people out on the trails to avoid spreading Covid. You also can support the new trails by donating through PayPal.

After the volunteer work party on Saturday, you can swing by the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op (behind Hames Wellness Center) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for open hours, where members can work on their bikes and use tools they may not own. Salty Spoke Bike Co-op hours are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, May 1, May 8, May 15, May 22, and May 29.

It’s National Bike To School Day on Wednesday, May 5, and youth are encouraged to ride their bikes to school (remember, Sitka has a youth bike helmet law for ages 18 and younger). There also is a Back To Biking Workshop targeted to ages 14-older from 5:30-7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5, at the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op. This is a good time to check out the newly opened co-op and learn some basic bike maintenance.

On Saturday, May 8, Sitka Trail Works will host the Cross Trail Bike Ride. Meet at 1:30 p.m. at the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op for a five-mile ride along the Cross Trail from Indian River to Sitka High School and back. Along the way, riders will get a chance to ride all five single-track mountain bike loops that were built in 2020.

Monday, May 17, through Friday, May 22, is National Bike To Work Week, with Friday, May 22, also serving as National Bike To Work Day. Sitka cyclists are encouraged to ride their bikes to work during this week. If you work from home, do a fun ride around town or out on the trails. When you ride, stop in at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop to fill out a ticket entering you in a prize drawing for a couple of gift certificates. The winners will be drawn on Saturday, May 23.

On Wednesday, May 19, there will be a Ride of Silence, where we honor those cyclists who have been injured or killed by motor vehicles, and a Blessing of the Bikes by local clergy. Meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Crescent Harbor covered shelter for the blessing, then join us for a slow, bike ride around town starting at 7 p.m. This year’s Ride of Silence will have additional significance as Sitka had its first cycling fatality since 2009 on March 8 when 20-year-old Terry Carlson Jr. was hit and killed while riding his bike to work.

On Saturday, May 22, is Kids’ Day at the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op, where youth are encouraged to bring their bikes to the co-op from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to learn how to better take care of them.

From noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 27, is the monthly meeting of the Sitka Cycling Club steering committee. This meeting is open to the public, and people should contact Doug Osborne at douglaso@searhc.org to get the Zoom meeting link.

Finally. we’ll close out National Bike Month with the Sitka Community Bike Ride at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 29. Meet at 10:30 a.m. at Totem Square Park to prepare for the short, family friendly bike ride through downtown Sitka. This event honors the 130th anniversary of the first recorded bicycle in Sitka, which arrived in town on May 28, 1891.

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The Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition will meet from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, at the Fisheye Café (formerly North Sister Juice and Crepe Company) located on Seward Street next to Subway).

The monthly meeting is open to everyone interested in making Sitka an even better town for cyclists of all ages. Topics include a review of our 2016 Silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community application, a review of the Be Safe and Seen campaign in Sitka, 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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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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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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