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Posts Tagged ‘Japonski Island’

The Sitka Cycling Club and Sitka Tribe of Alaska will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, for the new Protect the Herring bike rack, at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi. The bike rack was made locally by Mike Litman of Precision Boatworks in Sitka.

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Sitka Cycling Club’s monthly group ride will start there and be in honor of Native American Heritage Month. The ride will go to Japonski Island to ride on the new trail there, see Sitka’s first fix-it station (at the SEARHC Employee Health Gym) and visit the The Kootéeyaa Project totem, which represents the Native journey to wellness.

After that the group will ride to the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op (in a back room at the Hames Center) for a mini workshop on fixing a flat and maintaining your chain. All helmeted cyclists are welcome to join the free ride.     

For more information call Doug Osborne at 738-8734 or douglaso@searhc.org.

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Tour de Sitka riders meet at Sea Mart on Sunday, June 12, before riding to the end of each road in Sitka (Photos by Bill Foster)

IMG_0675Even though the City and Borough of Sitka has an area larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, there aren’t that many long roads in Sitka, about 15 miles from the end of Halibut Point Road to the end of Sawmill Creek Road, and a few roads radiating out from there.

But every year a group of Sitka cyclists gets together for an informal Tour de Sitka, where they meet at Sea Mart, then ride to the end of the road at Starrigavan Recreation Area on Halibut Point Road for a photo, ride to the end of Sawmill Creek Road, then ride over the O’Connell Bridge to have a meal at the Nugget at the Rocky Gutierrez Airport on Japonski Island. This year’s Umpteenth Tour de Sitka took place on Sunday, June 12.

IMG_0676The event was first organized by former Sitka school teachers John and Cheryl Hedden, who have since moved, as an excuse to cruise Sitka’s road system by bicycle and afterwards have a hearty brunch at one of Sitka’s restaurants. The event tends to be impromptu, with limited media coverage.

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SUNNY SUNDAY SITKA CYCLING: The e-mail announcement said “We go rain or shine, unless it’s a super gully-whumper,” but it turned out to be a nice day for a bike ride around Sitka on Sunday, June 3, when about a dozen cyclists gathered for an informal Tour de Sitka. The group met at the Sea Mart grocery store at 10 a.m. and rode out to the end of Halibut Point Road, where they stopped for a group picture. The then rode back into town and over the O’Connell Bridge to Japonski Island, where they grabbed brunch at the Nugget Restaurant in the Rocky Gutierrez Airport. Then it was back to Sea Mart, unless individual riders wanted to have the option of riding out to the end of Sawmill Creek Road first. The Tour de Sitka is a tradition started several years ago by Sitka teachers John and Cheryl Hedden, who since have retired and moved south. According to Jeff Budd, 12 riders participated this year, including one person on a single-speed cruiser and two high school students. He said the ride without the Sawmill Creek Road leg was about 14 miles, and it was a “fun group.” (Photo courtesy of Corrie Bosman)

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(NOTE: This article originally appeared on April 29, 2011, on the Sitka Outdoor Recreation Coalition [Get Out, Sitka!] website.)

Now that it’s spring, many people are getting their bicycles ready for riding. To help children learn about bike safety and make sure their bikes are safe to ride, the Sitka Bike Rodeo is the place to be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, at the U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka hangar. This annual event is sponsored by the Coast Guard and the Rotary Club of Sitka.

A bicycle is a great way for a kid to experience the outdoors. A bike provides a child with mobility, which allows the child to explore and discover his or her surroundings. It also provides lots of healthy physical activity and helps the kids get outdoors to play.

The Sitka Bike Rodeo features a bike mechanic who can check each child’s bike to make sure it is safe to ride, a safety course where kids learn how to stop at traffic signals and watch for other traffic, a figure-eight course where kids develop bike-handling skills, and a hot dog stand. Event organizer James Diffin said he hopes to have a few helmets on hand so kids with unsafe helmets can have theirs replaced. To learn more about the Sitka Bike Rodeo and to volunteer, contact James at 747-3500.

Since it’s spring, here are a few bike safety rules for the kids:

  • Wear a properly fitting bike helmet (click here to learn how to fit a helmet). Not only is it a good way to protect yourself from head injuries, Sitka has a youth helmet ordinance that requires all children age 18 or younger to wear helmets when they ride bikes, trikes, skateboards, scooters and similar vehicles.
  • Right on the right side of the road, with traffic not against it. Older kids (age 11 and older) and adults should avoid riding their bikes on the sidewalks, especially downtown where there are lots of walkers (a bike can seriously injure an elder who doesn’t hear it behind him or her).
  • Wear bright clothes and make sure you have a working solid white headlight and flashing red taillight on your bike, especially if you ride when it’s dark. Wear a reflective vest or arm bands/leg bands, and put reflective tape on your clothes and/or bike frame so it’s easier for drivers to see you on the bike.
  • Know the rules of the road, and follow them. Stop at all stop signs and stop lights. Ride in a safe, predictable manner so cars know where you’re going. Use hand signals for all turns. Yield to traffic when appropriate.
  • Check your bike before riding it, especially the ABCs — Air (tires have the right amount of air), Brakes (the brakes work and will stop your tire so it skids on the pavement) and Chain (make sure the chain is the right tension and there are no damaged links, oil if necessary).
  • For more bike safety rules for kids, click here.

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Mt. Edgecumbe High School sophomore Nelson Kanuk, who is from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta village of Kipnuk, checks out a bike from the boarding school's bike program so he can run errands in Sitka. (Photo courtesy of Mt. Edgecumbe High School bike program)

Mt. Edgecumbe High School sophomore Nelson Kanuk, who is from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta village of Kipnuk, checks out a bike from the boarding school's bike program so he can run errands in Sitka. (Photo courtesy of Mt. Edgecumbe High School bike program)

(NOTE: This article originally was posted in November 2010 on the Alaska Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance website. It also appeared on the Sitka Outdoor Recreation Coalition (Get Out, Sitka!) website.)

Students at Mt. Edgecumbe High School sometimes can feel trapped at the school. A new bike check-out program is giving those students a chance to have a little bit of freedom as they head to downtown Sitka.

For those who haven’t been to Sitka before, a little explaining is in order. Mt. Edgecumbe High School is a state-run boarding school and most of the 400-430 students are from small villages around the state. They come to Sitka to have access to classes they might not be able to get at home.

The Mt. Edgecumbe High School campus is located on Japonski Island, across the O’Connell Bridge from Sitka on Baranof Island. It’s not really that far, about a mile or two, but sometimes that can be a little too far to walk, especially if you have to be back in the dorms by a certain time.

Anyway, the school had several older bikes that had been collected over the years. But they were in poor repair and many of them weren’t safe to ride. Mt. Edgecumbe High School partnered with the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Health Promotion and Injury Prevention programs and with Island Fever Diving and Adventures/Sitka Bike and Hike to get the bikes fixed up and safe for students to check out.

“We currently have 15 bikes that can be checked out during the students’ town leave times (4:10-5:30 p.m. on weekdays and 1-5 p.m. on Saturday/Sundays),” said Emily Buck, a dorm recreation assistant for the school. “All of the bikes are now equipped with the proper safety equipment, thanks to a partnering between Mt. Edgecumbe, SEARHC and Island Fever Diving and Adventure. The bikes are equipped with rear-view mirrors, front lights, back lights and reflectors. Island Fever also donated many more helmets to add to our collection.”

Island Fever Diving and Adventures, which also operates the Sitka Bike and Hike company that provides bike tours, repairs and sales, performed maintenance and safety checks on all the bikes. SEARHC Health Educator Doug Osborne, a League Certified Instructor by the League of American Bicyclists and a key member of the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition that helped Sitka become Alaska’s first official Bicycle Friendly Community,  gives bike safety instruction to the students. SEARHC is the tribal health organization for the region and it operates the Mt. Edgecumbe High School Student Health Center as one of its clinics. Osborne said he was happy to partner on this project because it gave SEARHC a chance to promote healthy physical activity and injury prevention to the students.

“Before the students are able to check out the bikes, they have to attend a bike safety class,” Buck said. “Doug Osborne led the first class, going over the rules of the road that every biker should follow and giving tips to maximize one’s safety while biking. After the students obtain this knowledge, they are free to check out the bikes. Many students have taken advantage of this opportunity and are enjoying getting around Sitka at a much faster pace than walking. And it’s a much cheaper option than taking a cab.”

Even though the weather is getting somewhat nasty as winter approaches, the students still were checking out the bikes in November. Because Mt. Edgecumbe High School is a boarding school, classes run later in the day than they do at Sitka High School across town, and Mt. Edgecumbe High School sometimes has Saturday classes. Many of the stores in Sitka close by 5-5:30 p.m. on weekdays, earlier on the weekend.

“I have a really tight schedule every week, but having a bike to check out gives me the opportunity to go to town and back very quickly,” said sophomore Nelson Kanuk, who came to Sitka from the tiny Yup’ik Eskimo village of Kipnuk in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region of Southwest Alaska.

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