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The Sitka Cycling Club will host a free workshop on commuting to work by bike and utility cycling (using a bicycle for transportation) from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30, at the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op (located in the back of Hames Wellness Center.

Participants will receive a $10 gift certificate to the Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, a Bicycle Benefits helmet sticker that gets commuters discounts at 12 local business, a helmet if needed, a place to do some basic bike maintenance, educational resources, and Sitka-specific riding tips for commuters.

The outdoor workshop will start at the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op and will include a short ride downtown. This event is supported by the Sitka Cycling Club and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC).

For more information or to sign up for one of the 10 spots, call SEARHC Health Educator Doug Osborne at 966-8674.

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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 Cycling Club President Doug Osborne, left, and Sitka Cycling Club Treasurer Charles Bingham show off their Bicycle Friendly Community Silver Level designation swag in 2016. Sitka just renewed its Bicycle Friendly Community designation at the Silver Level for 2020-24.

The League of American Bicyclists announced on Wednesday (Dec. 16) that it has renewed the Silver Level designation for Sitka, Alaska, in the Bicycle Friendly Community program.

The Bicycle Friendly Community program promotes safer streets and better bicycling by awarding various levels to communities based on how their city or town meets standards in the Five E’s — Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering, and Evaluation/Planning. A new E, Equity, is being introduced to the judging process and will replace Enforcement in future applications. Communities are required to resubmit applications at least once every four years.

This is the fourth time Sitka has been honored with a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award. Sitka became Alaska’s first BFC in 2008, after community members chose becoming a more bike- and walk-friendly community as one of the community wellness projects from the first Sitka Health Summit in 2007. Sitka renewed at the Bronze Level in 2012, and upgraded to the Silver Level in 2016. In addition, Sitka also earned the state’s first Walk Friendly Communities designations with Bronze Level awards in 2013 and 2017 (WFC is a newer program coordinated by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center and supported by the Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Center).

“This is great news,” Sitka Cycling Club President Doug Osborne said. “Thanks to the League (of American Bicyclists) and everyone in town who’s helping us to be a Bicycle Friendly Community. Being a bike friendly community was identified as a top goal at the first Sitka Health Summit planning day in 2007. Since then, we have made steady progress and now we have more places to ride.”

Wednesday’s announcement honored 51 communities as renewing or new Bicycle Friendly Communities at the Platinum (1), Gold (3), Silver (11) or Bronze (38) levels (there also is a Diamond Level that wasn’t awarded this time). In addition, there were 16 communities that earned Honorable Mention status, just below the full BFC designation. Since 2002, the League of American Bicyclists has awarded 485 BFC designations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and has received applications from more than 850 communities. There now are five BFCs in Alaska — Sitka (Silver), Anchorage (Silver), Juneau (Bronze), Kenai (Bronze) and Soldotna (Bronze) — and two Honorable Mentions (Fairbanks and Haines).

“During one of the toughest years in recent memory, we have seen so many Americans turn to biking during the pandemic for fun and for necessary transportation options. It’s so important that communities like Sitka have laid the groundwork over several years to make biking a safe, accessible option for people when we all need as much health and happiness as possible,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “This Bicycle Friendly Community award is the culmination of years of work put in by Sitka and its citizen advocates for better biking. This award round, Sitka joins 51 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities in the movement toward healthier, more sustainable and connected places. As we turn the page on 2020 and look ahead to 2021, we’re proud that Sitka and communities like it are embracing bicycling as a solution to our collective recovery.”

The Bicycle Friendly Community program is part of the League of American Bicyclist’s larger Bicycle Friendly America program, which also includes Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business, and Bicycle Friendly University designations. Sitka’s largest employer, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Sitka Campus, holds a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Business designation.

During normal years, Sitka is known for hosting a variety of community bike rides and education events, such as National Bike Month events in May and a Kidical Mass family friendly bike ride in September, and having one of the state’s highest rates of people who commute to work by bike. But the COVID-19 pandemic limited those activities this spring and summer.

Sitka still accomplished several cycling-positive projects over the past couple of years, such as building four single-track mountain bike trail loops off the Sitka Cross Trail this summer, opening the Salty Spoke bike cooperative at Hames Wellness Center, rebranding the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition as the Sitka Cycling Club and getting nearly 250 club members to register, starting a citywide bicycle parking plan, starting a Sitka mountain bike trails plan, launching a Bicycle Benefits program where cyclists can show participating merchants a sticker on their helmets to receive a discount at local businesses, and hosting the 2019 Alaska Walk and Bike Conference that included a two-day Smart Cycling training (Sitka also was scheduled to host the 2020 conference before it went virtual due to the pandemic).

To learn more about the Sitka Cycling Club, go to https://sitkacycling.wordpress.com or like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaCycling. Links to Sitka’s Bicycle Friendly Community application and report card can be found under the Documents tab on the Sitka Cycling Club website (previous year applications can be found by scrolling down the page). To learn more about the League of American Bicyclists and its Bicycle Friendly Community program, go to http://www.bikeleague.org/community.

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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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(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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The Sitka Cycling Club will hold its monthly meeting from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, at the Sitka Public Library. This meeting is open to all interested folks interested in promoting safe and fun cycling in Sitka.

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 single-track mountain bike trails off the Sitka Cross Trail, the grand opening of the Salty Spoke Bicycle Collective, club goals for 2020, the renewal process for our Bicycle Friendly Community designation this summer, and other topics.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 738-8734.

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The Sitka Cycling Club will hold its monthly meeting from 2:30-3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the Sitka Public Library. This meeting is open to all interested folks interested in promoting safe and fun cycling in Sitka.

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, International Winter Bike To Work/School Day on Feb. 14, and other topics.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 738-8734.

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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, Jan. 8, at the Sitka Public Library. This meeting is open to all interested folks interested in promoting safe and fun cycling in Sitka.

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, International Winter Bike To Work/School Day on Feb. 14, and other topics.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 738-8734.

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The new herring bike racks in front of the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi, next to Herring Rock. They were built in Sitka by Mike Litman of Precision Boatworks.

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, Dec. 4, at the Sitka Public Library. This meeting is open to all interested folks interested in promoting safe and fun cycling in Sitka.

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 developing a bike parking plan for Sitka, building single-track 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 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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