Monday, May 4, 2020

May is Bike Month

Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail

 As May approaches every year, we eagerly anticipate participating in National Bike Month events throughout the month, unfortunately the arrival of COVID-19 has thrown a monkey wrench into the spokes.  This month’s bike month events have been cancelled for now and rescheduled for the month of September 2020.  Just because the public events have been delayed, we need not be discouraged.  We can still celebrate the joy we derive from riding our bikes independently or consider a virtual ride.  Riding our bikes provides us with physical and mental health benefits as long as we remember to honor safe distancing from other cyclists and pedestrians along the way and remember to wear your face covering to help slow down the spread of COVID-19.  It is now recommended to keep 60 ft. from the bike rider in front of you to avoid his/her breathing slipstream.

Pacific Electric Challenge – Celebrating fourteen years of Bike Month tradition
                                                            Poster by Travis Hanson 
The “Friends” hosted an annual bike event (the Pacific Electric Challenge) for fourteen years to celebrate Bike to Work month in the Inland Empire.  This tradition of cyclists and runners was enjoyed by thousands of community members and supported by generous sponsors.  Thanks to our community partners, volunteers and tireless staff, we were able to enjoy our wonderful weather, friends (old and new), and our neighbors on the 21-mile Regional Pacific Electric Trail, the “Jewel of the Inland Empire.”

This annual event brought together vendors and residents, introduced local businesses to community members, and acted as a conduit to educate and celebrate active living and healthy lifestyles during Bike month.  Over the years we have collaborated with our numerous community organizations who volunteered to help us staff water stops, stuff goody bags, mark the bike routes, support crowd control on registration day, staff our bike valet and photograph the fun.  Thank you to our local governments, local boy scout troops, our faith-based communities, our local schools and the California Conservation Corp and the bike shop community who worked tirelessly to make this event successful each year.

Bicycling is the most efficient mode of transportation
Who can ever forget their 1st bike ride without training wheels or someone’s hand there to support our first attempts at riding?  Yes, most of us did have a crash or two, a scraped knee or busted lip making that first solo ride that much sweeter.  With our hearts racing and our legs pumping, we did not just learn to ride a bike in a straight line, we grew in our own estimation.  
 Photo by TheBeastjk234
We gained an ability to go further and faster, in a word, we found freedom. Having mastered riding our bikes, we then sought ways to enhance the experience.  There were monkey bars and banana seats, tassels on the hand grips, horns and bells and my personal favorite because I wanted to simulate a motorized sound, we clipped playing cards with clothes pins to our spokes and rode into legend.

Bike Tips for a Safe Ride
Photo by Julia Schmidt from Pexels

Before you get on your bike, remember your ABC's: Air, breaks and chain. Check your bicycle air pressure, breaks, proper seat height, bike chain, reflectors and that bike lights are always in good working condition.
  • Always follow the “rules of the road” by riding in the direction of traffic and obeying traffic signals
  • Always wear a helmet, gloves and face mask. Be visible with front and rear lights
  • Wear brightly colored clothing to increase visibility to motorists
  • Use sanitizing wipes to clean your bike before and after your ride and wash your hands when you get home
  • Enjoy the fresh air and remember to greet others from a safe distance (at least 6 feet), ring your bike bell, smile and waive
  • When passing a car, often check and give at least three feet of space between your bike and a car or better yet, change lanes if cleared to do so
  • Look, Look, Look ~  Make eye contact with driver, nod and smile to be certain that you both acknowledge each other
  • Remember to abide by the “Three Foot law” that was signed into California law January 1st 2019

The League of American Bicyclists celebrate National Bike Month in May. 
During May, we will be sharing ideas to celebrate bike month that come to us from leaders in the industry, such as the League of American Bicyclists who have created virtual events for everyone to enjoy.

Go for a solo ride. Take a photo. Share it with the world. Show how #BikesUnite. 
For the 31 days in May, #BikesUnite us. Whether you’re riding for fun, fitness or with family, or taking essential trips to work or shop, you are part of a movement for safer streets, connected communities, a healthier planet, and happier people. Share photos of your solo or family rides on social media using #BikesUnite and share the joy biking brings you. By sharing your “reason to ride” on social media and encouraging friends and family across the country to go by bike, we can experience the joy of biking together even as we shelter at home apart. It will be like we are taking the largest group ride photo in history! 
                                                              -Courtesy of The League of American Bicyclists

Now its May 2020, and we need to celebrate that long forgotten day of freedom we discovered in our youth.   Let us all get on our bikes and ride.  Not just ride but smile and grin and laugh out loud as we celebrate that long-ago graduation to a wheeled lifestyle.
Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail

1 comment: