National Bike Month is celebrated across the country in May. What better place to celebrate than the Miami Valley, which boasts the nation s largest paved trail network with more than 340 miles to explore and enjoy. CONTRIBUTED

Why now is the time to join in a Dayton cycling movement

A celebration of all things cycling is underway for National Bike Month.

Established in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month is celebrated across the country in May. What better place to celebrate than the Miami Valley, which boasts the nation’s largest paved trail network with more than 340 miles to explore and enjoy. Dayton is also a League of American Bicyclists bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community.

The highlight of Bike Month, for many, is the annual National Bike to Work Day on May 18. An estimated 700 cycling enthusiasts of all ages will gather at the region’s largest National Bike Month celebration at RiverScape MetroPark for free fun and food. The morning includes music, pancakes, coffee, cycling exhibits and some friendly competition with the Team Challenge. Sinclair Community College narrowly beat out the University of Dayton in the challenge last year with 69 cyclists.

“Bike to Work Day is a celebration of human-powered transportation and healthy, active lifestyles,” said MetroParks special events coordinator Angela York. “Whether you are cycling as part of the team challenge or as an individual, everyone enjoys the camaraderie of this event and learns how biking is a healthy, safe alternative when planning your commute.”

While Bike to Work Day is the largest local event, it is far from the only event as there is a full slate of activities throughout the month designed to celebrate the many benefits of cycling.

“Cycling, rather than driving, is not only an environmentally friendly, healthy form of transportation, it’s an active way to experience the outdoors and connect with nature locally while helping protect our region’s natural heritage,” said Five Rivers MetroParks executive director Rebecca Benná.

So what are you waiting for?

JOIN THE FUN OF NATIONAL BIKE MONTH

May-October: Bike for Health Challenge – This MetroParks program allows riders to complete suggested self-guided biking routes on their own time or participate in monthly guided rides. Riders can download a ride log at www.metroparks.org/bikehealth.

May 1-31: National Bike Challenge – Join a team of up to 8 riders and have fun riding and encouraging others to ride. There are points, leaderboards, and prizes. For information, visit www.lovetoride.net/usa.

May 14: GO W/ THE FLOW Bike Edition – Kick off Bike to Work Week with the 7th Annual GO W/ THE FLOW Bike Week Edition yoga class with Tori Reynolds, owner of Speakeasy Yoga, and musician Ben Rivet at RiverScape MetroPark from 6-7 p.m.

May 16: Dayton Ride of Silence – Meet at the cyclist statue along the bike trail at Carillon Park for a slow-paced ride of silence of 8 miles to commemorate those lives lost while riding a bicycle. Helmets are required and wearing white and using lights are requested. Pre-ride gathering at 6:30 p.m. with 7 p.m. ride start.

May 18: National Bike to Work Day (Dayton) – Free pancake breakfast, live music, exhibits, photo booth, Team Challenge and more at RiverScape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave., from 7-9 a.m. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.metroparks.org/bike-month/bike-to-work-day.

May 18: National Bike to Work Day (Springfield) – Food, music, giveaways and a free fitness class at City Hall Plaza, 76 E. High St., Springfield from 7-8:30 a.m.

May 20: 44th Annual Huffman Spring Classic – Join the Dayton Cycling Club on one of three routes –30, 50 or 62.5 miles – from Wax Park/Payne Recreation Center in Moraine. For information, visit http://daytoncyclingclub.org.

May 26: Wegerzyn Bike Rodeo for Kids – Join Rangers and MVPs for a day of bicycle safety. Bring a two-wheeled bicycle, with or without training wheels, for a free bicycle course. Kids ages 3-15 receive a free properly-fitted bike helmet (while supplies last). For information or registration, visit www.metroparks.org.

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