Virtual Bike Month rolls on, with weekly themes starting every Friday

Bicycling at Eastwood MetroPark. CONTRIBUTED/JAN UNDERWOOD
Bicycling at Eastwood MetroPark. CONTRIBUTED/JAN UNDERWOOD

Annual Bike to Work event canceled, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate cycling

A packed pavilion filled with laughter and the mouth-watering smell of hot-off-the-griddle pancakes – the traditional sights, sounds and smells of the annual Bike to Work Day — will be missed but, despite the impact of the coronavirus on the community, Bike Month will go on.

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“The Bike to Work Day event team at Five Rivers MetroParks has been planning a robust Virtual Bike Month celebration in the wake of canceling our annual pancake breakfast,” said Angela York, MetroParks’ special events coordinator. “We wanted to find a way to still bring the community together and celebrate National Bike Month.”

National Bike Month May, which was established in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists, is celebrated across the country as a way to showcase the many benefits of bicycling and encourage people to give it a try. With stay-at-home orders and social distancing the rule, not the exception, in states from coast to coast, communities have become creative in their cycling celebration.

"We've created a Facebook group for us to gather and share tips, how-tos, and inspiration, as well as allowing the members to share stories and celebrate each other," York said.

Five Rivers MetroParks has partnered with Bike Miami Valley and the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission to create a full month of fun and educational activities.

“We want to provide people with the educational resources and confidence they need to experience the outdoors on bicycle,” York said.

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Bicycling at RiverScape MetroPark. CONTRIBUTED/JESSICA HANSBAUER
Bicycling at RiverScape MetroPark. CONTRIBUTED/JESSICA HANSBAUER

Week by week, day by day

Virtual Bike Month will have a different theme each week, launching on Fridays. May 8-14 is “Plan and Prepare” while May 15-21 is “Gear.” May 22-28 is “Celebrating Bicycle Friendly Communities,” especially appropriate as Dayton is a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community.

“Each week has a theme and will offer Ride of the Week, Bike Bingo Challenge, video tips and tricks, Bike-In movie suggestions, community interviews and more,” York said.

Offerings will be released on the following days:

• Friday – Ride of the Week and Bicycle Bingo Challenge

• Saturday – Post or video of bike tips, info or links to resources

• Sunday – Encourage community members to post rides, activities or tips

• Monday – Announce previous week’s Bingo winners

• Tuesday – Encourage community members to post rides, activities or tips

• Wednesday – Facebook Live event, interview, tour or tutorial

• Thursday – Bike-In Movie, a bike-related movie or documentary

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Biking on the Mad River Trail at Huffman Dam. CONTRIBUTED
Biking on the Mad River Trail at Huffman Dam. CONTRIBUTED

Get in on the fun

Ready to ride? Virtual Bike Month is educational, engaging and easy to be a part of.

Interested cyclists can join the 2020 Virtual Bike Month group on Facebook or visit the Five Rivers MetroParks website for information or details. Tutorials and videos will also be posted online.

With more than 340 miles of connected trails – the largest paved trail network in the country – the Miami Valley is the ideal place to celebrate Bike Month. And while the celebration has to be virtual this year, the benefits will be real.

“Nature is open during these challenging times when so many things had to close for the health and safety of our community,” York said. “Cycling is a great way to be active, improve your mental and physical health and experience the outdoors.”