May is National Bike Month, and several Alaska communities have planned a variety of events to help celebrate this national event designed to promote and encourage the use of bikes as a regular form of transportation. In addition, National Bike to Work Week is May 16-20, and National Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20, so there will be community rides to celebrate those events, too.
The Municipality of Anchorage kicks off the month with a Bike to Work Festival from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, May 6. This event was a fun way to get people ready for a month of bike commuting. It features bike safety workshops, repair and maintenance, information on local bike clubs, bike rentals and tours, and registration for Bike to Work Day. The awards for the Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage “Freeze Your Keys” bike commuting challenge in April also will be presented. These events are a partnership between the Municipality of Anchorage, the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage, Green Star Inc., the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), Southcentral Foundation, Chain Reaction Cycles, REI Anchorage, the Alaska Club, the Municipality of Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services, the Alaska Injury Prevention Center, Off the Chain Bicycle Cooperative and Screamin’ Yeti Designs.
The Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage will be helping several organizations with National Bike Month and Bike to Work Week/Day activities in Anchorage. In addition to helping host the Bike to Work Day Festival on May 6, BCA will host a Bike to Work Day clinic at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10, at REI Anchorage to help remind cyclists about the rules of the road and other safety tips, help people find gear and learn how to make their rides more enjoyable. Look for more details in the upcoming events box in the right column of BCA’s website link above.
Fairbanks will be celebrating its third annual Bike to Work Week. This event started when the Fairbanks, North Pole and Fairbanks North Star Borough mayors got together and decided to organize a challenge for bike commuters, encouraging residents to “Burn Calories, Not Gas.” Participants in the Fairbanks area can log their bike trips each day during the week for a chance to win prizes. Details for this year’s challenge still aren’t on the website (other than the date and some partners/sponsors), but you can see information from last year’s event.
In Juneau, the Juneau Freewheelers will host events for National Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day, but details haven’t been posted on the club’s website yet. According to Dan Robinson, one of the organizers, a challenge between local office buildings, branches of government and schools is being organized to see who can get the most trips/miles in for the week. Cycle Alaska will provide simple repairs on Bike to Work Day, and will also hold onto people’s bikes during the day if they don’t have bike parking. Another event is a free movie, “Take a Seat,” about a guy who biked from Prudhoe Bay to South America, after work on May 20 at the Gold Town Nickelodeon Theater. In past years, Juneau has hosted group rides from several locations in to town with a stop for breakfast along the way.
In Sitka, there will be a variety of events during the month (see flier next to this paragraph), including three lunch-and-learn panel discussions at the SEARHC (SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium) S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital, Kettleson Memorial Library and Sitka Community Hospital; the Sitka Bike Rodeo for kids at the U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka hangar (co-sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sitka); radio interviews; a National Bike to Work Week contest for bike commuters; capped off with a National Bike to Work Day pancake breakfast at the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus.
Also, if other communities are interested in hosting their own events, they should check out the League of American Bicyclists site for National Bike Month. This page includes planning guides, promotional materials, radio/TV PSAs and other helpful items for communities wanting to plan National Bike Month and/or Bike to Work Week/Day events.
Bob Laurie, the Statewide Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, compiled a list of talking points last year with bike safety information and reasons why more people should bike to work or school. That list is posted below as a PDF file. Gov. Sean Parnell also issued a proclamation honoring May as National Bike Month, May 16-20 as National Bike to Work Week and May 20 as National Bike to Work Day.