It’s time to ride in May

Cycling can provide much-needed exercise and therapy in these stressful times. CONTRIBUTED/JAN UNDERWOOD
Cycling can provide much-needed exercise and therapy in these stressful times. CONTRIBUTED/JAN UNDERWOOD

Bike Month will be virtual again this year

Recreation, education and transportation – Bike Month will tackle these topics and many more.

Although local Bike Month festivities will be virtual for a second year, cycling advocates have plenty of engaging activities in store for cyclists of all ages and experience levels.

“People really enjoyed the highlighted rides of the week last year and we plan to expand the focus this year,” said Brent Anslinger, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation manager. “Each week, we will highlight an entire trail, expanding it to the region.”

Beyond the highlighted trails, a technique of the week will also be posted online at www.metroparks.org/bikemonth and on the 2021 Virtual Bike Month Facebook page. Looking to take in some historical sights – check. Wanting to explore mountain bike trails – check. Those options will also be posted.

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“Cycling is something you can feel good about in so many ways,” said MetroParks special events coordinator Angela York. “It gets your body moving, is a good choice for the environment and helps people decompress by being outdoors – all of which are beneficial, especially right now.”

Cycling enthusiasts are encouraged to take part in a variety of independent activities to celebrate Bike Month. CONTRIBUTED
Cycling enthusiasts are encouraged to take part in a variety of independent activities to celebrate Bike Month. CONTRIBUTED

The pandemic significantly impacted the number of cyclists in the area and across the country as bikes became a scarce commodity.

“Even bikes on the used market were getting snapped up quickly; people were buying them to ride or buying them for parts because it was also tough to find parts last year,” Anslinger said. “What that means is that there are a lot of new folks out on the trails and on the roads.”

Those newcomers could benefit from the tips posted throughout the month, helping them gain knowledge and confidence.

“This bike month is super important because we hope to see everyone who bought a bike last year out on the trail enjoying the Nation’s Largest Paved Trail Network – right here in our backyard,” said Laura Estandia, Bike Miami Valley executive director.

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With more than 340 miles of connected trails in the area – the nation’s largest paved trail network – there are countless weekend adventures to be had. Bike Month, however, will highlight cycling for transportation as well as recreation.

“We want to tease the idea that you can do more than just ride for recreation,” Anslinger said. “We want people to think about how they can use their bicycle as they would any other vehicle – to go to work or the store or anywhere else they need to go.”

Cycling, rather than driving, can significantly reduce people’s carbon footprint. While the popular pancake breakfast won’t be happening, cyclists are encouraged to take solo rides to work or school on Bike to Work Day on May 21. And weekly photo contests will be held throughout May to showcase the use of two-wheeled transportation.

Virtual Bike Month is an ideal time to explore the region's paved trails. CONTRIBUTED/JAN UNDERWOOD
Virtual Bike Month is an ideal time to explore the region's paved trails. CONTRIBUTED/JAN UNDERWOOD

Mark your calendar

2021 Virtual Miami Valley Cycling Summit, hosted by the City of Kettering

When: May 7, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Register: www.cyclingsummit.com

Cycling Summit Self-Guided Ride Day

When: May 14, 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Register: www.cyclingsummit.com

Did you know?

  • The region has seven Bicycle Friendly Communities and 11 Bicycle Friendly Businesses.
  • The University of Dayton became the area’s first Bicycle Friendly Campus last year.
  • The region is home to the Nation’s Largest Paved Trail Network – 340+ miles and counting
  • Bike Miami Valley is the state’s only Platinum Bicycle Friendly Business
  • Bike Miami Valley launched its fifth Chapter, Cycle Kettering this year

Contact this contributing writer at djuniewicz@gmail.com.

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