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Rev. Julie Platson of St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church sprinkles holy water during the blessing of the bikes and local Worldwide Ride of Silence event held May 15, 2019. (Photo by James Poulson / Daily Sitka Sentinel)

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 Friday, May 24, at the Fisheye Organic Café (note time and location change from last meeting). This meeting is open to all interested folks.

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; approval of a new Sitka Cycling Club logo; planning the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference in Sitka in early June, a review of National Bike Month events in May; a discussion about the Sitka Community Bike Ride on Saturday, May 25; 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 (such as the installation of a new FixIt bike repair station downtown, donated to Sitka by CRW Engineering Group of Anchorage); a discussion of monthly club bike rides later this summer; and other topics.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 747-0373 or Holly Marban at 966-8938.

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The Sitka Community Bike Ride is the perfect way to celebrate the spring and National Bike Month in May. It also is a chance to celebrate the 128th anniversary of the first bike seen in Sitka, which arrived in May 28, 1891, on the cruiser Mexico.

Join the Sitka Cycling Club on Saturday, May 25, at Totem Square (near the Petro Marine dock, where the Mexico likely docked) as we host a short kid-friendly bike parade through downtown starting at 11 a.m. (get there early for quick bike tune-up and door prize drawing). Riders are encouraged to bring classic and unusual bikes, if you have them.

We hope to have a bike stand and mechanic on hand to assist cyclists from 10:30 a.m. at Totem Square. People will be able to check chains, brakes, tire pressure and other minor maintenance needs, but won’t be able to do major repairs. We also hope someone will be available to help check bike helmet fits.

Since we will be on busy city streets for this event, we encourage everybody to wear helmets and bright clothing for safety reasons. All cyclists should ride on the right side of the road (with traffic) and ride in a predictable manner. We ask drivers to be aware there will be a lot of cyclists out on May 25 and to please slow down and give them a safe space to ride. Thanks.

We held a community bike ride a few years ago that had about 300-350 cyclists, so let’s see if we can top that crowd. We had a smaller crew at our community bike rides the last couple of years, but it’s still lots of fun.

For more information, contact the Doug Osborne at dosborne@sitkahospital.org.

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The inaugural Alaska Walk and Bike Conference takes place June 4-8 in Sitka — Alaska’s only community to hold national Walk Friendly Communities and Bicycle Friendly Community designations.

The conference opens with two days of Smart Cycling training from the League of American Bicyclists, followed by two days of walking and biking presentations. The fifth day includes an optional bike ride, an optional hike with harbor cruise, and a Walk/Bike Alaska organizational meeting. The conference costs $40 for the full conference, or $25 for each two-day segment. People can register at http://akwalkbikeconference.eventsmart.com. The Aspen Suites Hotel, where much of the conference will take place, has a block of rooms reserved for the conference, but will release them to the general public on May 3, so book now.

“Having this conference in Sitka is a great opportunity and I’m particularly excited about the team of speakers we have lined up,” said Doug Osborne, Sitka Community Hospital director of health promotion and one of the conference organizers. “The conference is designed so that people can participate ways that fit their interests and schedule. Some will want to complete the Smart Cycling course on Tuesday and Wednesday, others will enjoy doing the whole four-day conference while many will go for an individual session, a lunch and learn, a late afternoon group ride/walk or one of the evening special events. It’s going to be a fun week with a lot of learning, good discussion, and physical activity along the way.”

“The State of Alaska Physical Activity and Nutrition Program is excited to support the 2019 Walk Bike Conference in Sitka occurring at the same time as the Sitka Summer Music Festival,” said Dawn Groth, who works for the Alaska Division of Public Health’s Chronic Disease and Health Promotion program and is another conference organizer. “Sitka’s recognition as both a walk and bicycle friendly city make Sitka the perfect community to host a walk-bike conference. Building active and walkable communities can help support local economies, reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, and encourage safe walking and biking for all ages. Sitka is an example of a community Sitka is an example of a community working to create activity friendly routes to everyday destinations to encourage active people and a healthy nation.”

Elle Steele of Sacramento, Calif., shown here with her two sons (now ages 8 and 10), will lead the Smart Cycling training.

Sitka was honored with a Bronze level Walk Friendly Community designation in 2013 and 2017, and earned a Silver level Bicycle Friendly Community designation in 2016 (with Bronze level designations in 2008 and 2012). Both designations came out of Sitka Health Summit projects, which also led to the creation of Walk Sitka and the Sitka Cycling Club groups to promote walking and biking in Sitka.

The Smart Cycling training part of the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference is designed to help cyclists feel more comfortable and safer riding in traffic. It also is good for educators (especially physical education teachers), youth leaders, and others who might be leading group bike rides with younger students.

The second two-day segment focuses on the Five E’s (Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, Evaluation) that are the main components in the Walk Friendly Communities and Bicycle Friendly Community applications. In addition, there will be presentations on the health benefits of active transportation, accommodations needed for the elderly and disabled, how to start a bike school, and how to conduct a walk audit.

Elle Steele of Sacramento, Calif., who is a League Certified Instructor from the League of American Bicyclists and will lead the Smart Cycling training, will be one of the keynote speakers. She is board president of Trips For Kids Sacramento, a nonprofit that provides bike adventures for underserved youth, and also owns Whimsical Cycle, which promotes riding bikes for everyday transportation.

Lee Hart of Valdez and the Anchorage-based Confluence coalition promoting the outdoor recreation economic sector in Alaska will be a keynote speaker.

Another keynote speaker is Lee Hart of Valdez, who founded an Anchorage-based coalition called Confluence to promote the outdoor recreation economic sector in Alaska. She also founded the Valdez Adventure Alliance which introduced fat-biking and big mountain downhill fat-biking to new riders. Hart spoke about the benefits of outdoor recreation in Sitka in February 2019.

Other speakers include Doug Osborne, Charles Bingham, Holly Marban, Lynne Brandon and Rick Petersen of Sitka; Dawn Groth, Pierce Schwalb, Charlie Lowell and Brittney Mitchell of Anchorage; and others.

A tentative agenda is posted below. For more information, contact Doug Osborne at (907) 747-0373 or akwalkbikeconference@gmail.com.

• Tentative agenda for 2019 Alaska Walk and Bike Conference in Sitka (last updated May 24, 2019)

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As we enter National Bike Month in May, Sitka Community Hospital director of health promotion Doug Osborne will lead a brown bag lunch-and-learn about cycling in Sitka.

This event is free and takes place from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, May 3, at the Sitka Community Hospital downstairs classroom. The Basement Bistro is right next door, for those who need to buy a lunch.

During the talk, Doug will discuss what makes Sitka a great place to ride a bike, how to be safe when you ride, how to ride in the rain, how to ride on gravel trails, how to join the Sitka Cycling Club, and more.

For more information, contact Doug Osborne at 747-0373 or dosborne@sitkahospital.org.

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The Sitka Cycling Club (formerly known as the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition) will meet from 3-4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, at the Sitka Public Library (note time change).

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, planning the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference in Sitka in early June, discussion of National Bike Month events in May, 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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(This photo and caption appeared in the Tuesday, April 23, 2019, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with permission.)

BIKE PRESENTED — Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School third-grader Jenna Lallave, center; stands with her mother, Jenny-Lyn Lallave; 10-month-old brother, Liam Supnet; and father, Jesse Supnet, right, after being presented with a new bike by Verstovia Masonic Lodge members Noah Shepard, far left, and Darrell Windsor, second from left, 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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(This photo and caption appeared in the Friday, April 12, 2019, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with permission.)

BIKE PRESENTED — Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School third-grader Kayeil Jackson, stands with his father, Christopher Jackson, right, after being presented with a new bike by Verstovia Masonic Lodge members Darrell Windsor, left, and Noah Shepard 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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