This May is National Bike Month, a nationwide celebration of bicycles and bicycling. Every city and region celebrates National Bike Month differently, and festivities range from rallies at City Hall, to rides with elected officials, to bike parties, to bike commute contests. Which got us thinking at Bike Walk RVA: “How big can Bike Month be in greater Richmond?”
So a few weeks ago, we brought together our most active community volunteers and starting putting small-scale but fun events on the calendar. As the evening progressed and the beer was consumed, the calendar began to fill and pretty soon we had a packed month of activities for everyone to enjoy.
View the full calendar here!
Richmonders ride through Monroe Park during Bike to Work Day 2013. Credit: Phil Riggan
The idea wasn’t to take ownership of events all over the region, but rather help facilitate and empower community members to think creatively and come up with one or two small-scale events that they could pull off in their own backyard. Our collective focus was on inclusivity, family-friendliness, and most importantly, FUN. The events range from morning rides to local coffee shops, “Kidical Mass” group rides for children, a Mother’s Day ride, a women’s only scavenger hunt, and even a “donut crawl” to visit local donut shops. National Bike to Work Day, May 16, will feature five commuter coffee and snack stations throughout the city of Richmond.
The full calendar of the month’s festivities can be viewed online and includes all the various large-scale bike events planned for May as well, such as the USAC Collegiate Road Cycling National Championships (volunteers needed) and the Virginia Capital Trail Foundation’s Cap 2 Cap Ride (volunteers needed for this, too). Anyone who is interested in hosting an event and adding it to the calendar is encouraged to contact Brantley Tyndall, Community Engagement Coordinator for Bike Walk RVA at Brantley@sportsbackers.org.
Every month is bike month in Paris. Credit: Wikipedia.org
Also notable on the Bike Month calendar is a regional series of post-work, social bike-commuting seminars targeting dense employment centers in Henrico, Chesterfield, and the city of Richmond. Employees of area businesses are encouraged to come meet others interested in riding to work who may share a similar commute path, learn some tips and tricks from those with riding experience, and get plugged into the development of bike-friendly projects in the region. Snacks and beverages will be provided.
Local employees are encouraged to sign up for any of the following seminars:
May 7 at The Boulders in Southside, 5:30 p.m.; May 8 at Innsbrook for West End riders, 6 p.m.; May 21 at MeadWestvaco in Downtown Richmond, 5 p.m.
Finally, Bike Walk RVA is working in conjunction with the City of Richmond to conduct Richmond’s first-ever Bicycle Documentation Project, where bike riders will be counted by volunteers over a three-day period at 22 locations all over the city. Why are we doing this? Because new bike lanes often start with good documentation about what streets are used – or not used – by bicycle riders. And it’s our job to count them, so we know how much bike traffic a corridor gets pre- and post-bike lane, and help make the case for future bikeways in our region.
Interested people can sign up for one of the following shifts: Tuesday, May 6, 5 to 7 PM; Wednesday, May 7, 5 to 7 PM; Thursday, May 8, 5 to 7 PM
Participants will be assigned a location in central Richmond that is convenient to them and supplied with all the materials needed to be an excellent and prepared bike count volunteer.
There’s a lot going on for Bike Month this year! It might not all be high-profile, but hopefully there’s at least a little something for everyone.