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Local cyclists are invited to a Sitka Cycling Club monthly group ride, starting at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 19.

Riders will gather at the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op located behind the Hames Wellness Center. The final route will be selected by the cyclists who show up, but the tentative plan is ride on the multi-use trail along Sawmill Creek Road to Thimbleberry Trail and then up to Heart Lake for optional swimming.  

The event will have door prizes, including a gift card to the Yellow Jersey Cycle shop, a bicycle benefits sticker, and a new high-visibility helmet.  For more information or to join the Sitka Cycling Club, go to sitkacycling.wordpress.com or contact Doug Osborne at 738-8734.

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BIKE GIVEN – Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School third-grader Rosie Starbuck stands with her mom, Ariel Coleman Starbuck and brother, Cedar, after Mt. Verstovia Masonic Lodge member Darrell Windsor presented her with a new bicycle recently at the school. The Masons are giving a bicycle to one student in each third-grade class at the 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 winner. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo)
BIKE GIVEN –  Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School third-grader Sam Ploetzner, 9, holds up a new bicycle after Mt. Verstovia Masonic Lodge member Tom Brown presented it to him recently at the school. The Masons are giving a bicycle to one student in each third grade class at the school. Third grade teachers are selecting the recipients based on students’ behavior in class and the students’ display of good citizenship. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo)
BIKE GIVEN –  Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School third-grader Ben Lihou gives his mom, Heidi, a hug as Mt. Verstovia Masonic Lodge member Gregg Dunn, right, presents him with a new bicycle and helmet recently at the school. Ben’s dad, Robert, at left, looks on. The Masons are giving a bicycle to one student in each third-grade class at the school. Third-grade teacher Anita Simic asked her class to nominate a classmate. Most nominations were for Ben, who was described as hardworking, upbeat, kind, helping, thoughtful, generous, positive, understanding and a good friend to have. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo) 

BIKE GIVEN –  Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School third-grader Emily Wingard holds a bicycle helmet as she stands with her parents after receiving it and a new bicycle from Mt. Verstovia Masonic Lodge member Darrell Windsor, at left. The Masons gave a bicycle to one student in each third-grade class at the school this year. Third-grade teachers selected the recipients based on students’ behavior in class and the students’ display of good citizenship. (Photo Providedto the Daily Sitka Sentinel)

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Sitka’s weather on International Winter Bike To Work Day, Friday, Feb. 12, was cold and sunny, with no real moisture in about a week, which may have helped Sitka finish in the top 100 in the 2021 overall standings. Sitka beat several cities with more than a million people.

Sitka finished in a 13-way tie for 98th overall, with seven points (riders who recorded their rides on the international website). That put Sitka ahead of several larger communities around the world, such as Talinn, Estonia; Warsaw, Poland; Hannover, Germany; Barcelona, Spain; and Vienna, Austria. Communities earned points for the number of cyclists who rode and registered their rides with the International Winter Bike To Work Day website. The only other Alaska community among the top-250 places in the standings was Anchorage, which was in a 117-way tie for 230th place with two points.

Sweden dominated the top spots in the standings, with four cities in the top five. Linköping was the 2021 winner with 412 points, followed by 2020 overall winner Uppsala with 352 points. In third place was Umeå with 253 points, while Göteborg and Ismir, Turkey, tied for fourth place with 218 points. Rounding out the top-10 places in the standings were three-time winner (2015-17) Zagreb, Croatia, in sixth with 191 points; Montréal, Quebec, Canada, in seventh place with 159 points; 2014 winner Oulu, Finland, in eighth place with 155 points; and two more Swedish cities with Stockholm in ninth place with 132 points and Falun in 10th place with 127 points. Other former champions included 2019 champion Denver, Colorado, USA, in a tie for 65th place with 12 points; 2018 champion Novi Sad, Serbia, in a tie for 347th place with one point; and 2013 champion Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in a tie for 32nd place with 27 points. (In 2013 the event was almost entirely Canadian and it didn’t become a true international event until 2014.)

There were 93 communities from the United States that show up in the standings. The top five United State cities in the standings were Boulder, Colo., in a tie for 29th place with 32 points (the top American city); Traverse City, Mich., in a tie for 32nd place with 27 points; Denver in a tie for 65th place with 12 points; and Olympia, Wash., and Lincoln, Neb., both in a tie for 76th place with 10 points. Sitka, in its tie for 98th place with seven points, was the sixth American city. Other than Anchorage, no other Alaska communities showed up in the standings.

Participants in Sitka could enter a drawing at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop on Feb. 12 when they recorded their rides, which could include loops around town due to so many people being out of work or working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. James Poulson won a reflective rain jacket from SEARHC, Greg George won a Mako Nite Rider headlight from Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, Davey Lubin won a Serfas Seat-Stay tail light from Yellow Jersey, Sharyn Ferrick won a Herrmans Safety Wing reflector from Yellow Jersey, Doug Osborne won a Sayre reflective band, and Ronan George won a Cycloq mounted bike holder (for the wall) from an anonymous donor. Thank you to all who donated prizes.

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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 ninth annual International Winter Bike To Work Day on Friday, Feb. 12. This year, since so many people are working from home or are out of work due to COVID-19, the event has been rebranded as WinterBikeALoopza, with people encouraged to ride loops around town if they aren’t actually riding to work or school.

Our celebration of winter cycling in Sitka will be simple. First, go to the International Winter Bike To Work Day website, https://winterbiketoworkday.org/, and commit online to riding to work on Friday, Feb. 12 (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. 12, 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 reflective vest from Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop and other goodies from businesses around town.

This is the ninth 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). Zagreb won again in 2017, but in 2018 Novi Sad, Serbia, ended Zagreb’s three-year reign as the top winter biking community. There now are ways businesses and schools can compete.

The 2019 event saw the first winner from the United States, as Denver, Color., had the most points (1,405) and participants (1,207). Boulder, Colo., took second place with 1,174 points; followed in third place by Zagreb, Hrvatska (Croatia), with 520 points; Gdańsk, Polska (Poland), in fourth place with 287 points; and Varaždin, Hrvatska, in fifth place with 264 points.

Sitka finished in a six-way tie for 98th place overall in 2019 with 20 points, matching New York City; Durham, N.C.; Osijek, Hrvatska (Croatia); Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland (Germany); and Getxo, España (Spain). Communities earned points for the number of cyclists who rode and registered their rides with the international website, inviting friends to ride, sharing photos, hosting an event, etc. The only other Alaska community ranked in the top 200 cities was Anchorage in 41st place with 67 points.

In 2020, Sitka finished in a 30-way tie for 180th place overall with six points/riders who recorded their rides on the International Winter Bike To Work/School Day website, matching Warsaw, Poland; Zurich, Switzerland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Madrid, Spain; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and several other much larger communities around the world. Communities earned points for the number of cyclists who rode and registered their rides with the international website. The only other Alaska community ranked in the top 200 cities was Anchorage in a three-way tie for 113th place with 14 points.

The 2020 overall winner was Uppsala, Sweden, with 879 points. Taking second place was 2014 winner Oulu, Finland, with 791 points; followed by Helsinki, Finland, in third with 571; Linköping, Sweden, in fourth with 479; and three-time winner (2015-17) Zagreb, Croatia, in fifth place with 468 points. Boulder, Colo., was the top city from the United States with 413 points.

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 charleswbingham3@gmail.com or Doug Osborne at douglaso@searhc.org 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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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 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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(This photo and caption appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with permission.)

BIKE PRESENTED — Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School third-grader Cedar Powers, center; stands with her family, after being presented with a new bike by Verstovia Masonic Lodge members Jerald Neel, back left, and Darrell Windsor, right, 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. (Photo submitted to the Daily Sitka Sentinel).

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Sitka’s weather on International Winter Bike To Work/School Day, Friday, Feb. 14, wasn’t very wintery, which may have helped Sitka finish in the top 200 in the overall standings, beating several cities with more than a million people.

Sitka finished in a 30-way tie for 180th place overall with six points/riders who recorded their rides on the International Winter Bike To Work/School Day website, matching Warsaw, Poland; Zurich, Switzerland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Madrid, Spain; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and several other much larger communities around the world. Communities earned points for the number of cyclists who rode and registered their rides with the international website. The only other Alaska community ranked in the top 200 cities was Anchorage in a three-way tie for 113th place with 14 points.

This year’s overall winner was Uppsala, Sweden, with 879 points. Taking second place was 2014 winner Oulu, Finland, with 791 points; followed by Helsinki, Finland, in third with 571; Linköping, Sweden, in fourth with 479; and three-time winner (2015-17) Zagreb, Croatia, in fifth place with 468 points. Boulder, Colo., was the top city from the United States with 413 points.

Denver, Colo., which won last year’s title, finished in ninth place with 327 points. Other past winners included 2018 champ Novi Sad, Serbia, in a tie for 211th place with three points; and 2013 champion Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 47th place with 57 points (in 2013, the event was almost exclusively Canadian, and it didn’t become truly international until 2014).

In Sitka, cyclists could enter a drawing at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop on Feb. 14. Robert Weddel won a taillight set from Yellow Jersey. Thank you, Bill Hughes of Yellow Jersey for donating the prize.

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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 eighth annual International Winter Bike To Work Day on Friday, Feb. 14. This year also is the fifth annual International Winter Bike To School Day also on Feb. 14, so watch out for younger cyclists.

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 online to riding to work on Friday, Feb. 14 (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. 14, 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 headlight/taillight set from Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop and other goodies from businesses around town.

This is the eighth 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). Zagreb won again in 2017, but in 2018 Novi Sad, Serbia, ended Zagreb’s three-year reign as the top winter biking community. There now are ways businesses and schools can compete.

Last year saw the first winner from the United States, as Denver, Color., had the most points (1,405) and participants (1,207). Boulder, Colo., took second place with 1,174 points; followed in third place by Zagreb, Hrvatska (Croatia), with 520 points; Gdańsk, Polska (Poland), in fourth place with 287 points; and Varaždin, Hrvatska, in fifth place with 264 points.

Sitka finished in a six-way tie for 98th place overall in 2019 with 20 points, matching New York City; Durham, N.C.; Osijek, Hrvatska (Croatia); Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland (Germany); and Getxo, España (Spain). Communities earned points for the number of cyclists who rode and registered their rides with the international website, inviting friends to ride, sharing photos, hosting an event, etc. The only other Alaska community ranked in the top 200 cities was Anchorage in 41st place with 67 points.

For students, go to the International Bike To School Day website, http://winterbiketoschoolday.org/, and commit to riding to school on Friday, Feb. 14. 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 charleswbingham3@gmail.com or Doug Osborne at douglaso@searhc.org 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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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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