Celebrate National Bike Month across the Dayton region

A look at cycling-related activities, cycling tips, suggested rides and more.

Cycling enthusiasts rejoice! May is National Bike Month and there’s plenty to do to get you moving.

A celebration of cycling, the Five Rivers MetroParks Bike to Work Pancake Breakfast is back at RiverScape MetroPark, located at 237 E. Monument Ave., for the first time since 2019.

“It’s great to be able to get back together,” said Jordan Hart, Five Rivers MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator. “It’s a great opportunity to introduce people to and celebrate biking to work.”

On Friday, May 20 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., hundreds of Miami Valley cycling enthusiasts will gather at RiverScape MetroPark to enjoy free pancakes, coffee and live music as well as check out cycling-related exhibitors. The first 500 cyclists to pre-register their ride and check in at the Bike to Work Day Pancake Breakfast will receive a gift from Five Rivers MetroParks.

Credit: Jessica Hansbauer

Credit: Jessica Hansbauer

Prizes will also be awarded to the team with the most riders and the team that covers the most collective miles during the morning of the event. Individuals can pre-register for a chance to win prizes for most miles covered the morning of the event. Two randomly drawn prizes will also be awarded to one team and one individual rider.

In 2019 — the last time the event was held in-person due to the pandemic — cyclists biked 6,324 miles, saving 257 gallons of gas. Of the 432 registered riders who attended, 25 percent biked to work for the first time. For the past two years, the cycling event was replaced with a Virtual Bike Month celebration.

Credit: Jessica Hansbauer

Credit: Jessica Hansbauer

“We’re so excited for the return of the Bike to Work Day Pancake Breakfast,” said Angela York, MetroParks special events coordinator. “It’s a special day to celebrate cycling as a form of transportation that cultivates a healthy, more sustainable lifestyle. It’s also a great occasion to highlight the region’s more than 350 miles of paved recreation trails — the nation’s largest paved trail network.”

Established in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling and encourage people to giving cycling a try. According to the organization, bicycle commuting has grown by more than 100 percent since 2000 in Bicycle Friendly Communities – which includes Beavercreek, Dayton, Kettering, Piqua, Springboro, Troy and Yellow Springs.

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Ready to give it a go? A little planning will go a long way toward making your commute safe and enjoyable.

Road ready

“First, you want to make sure that your bike is in good working order,” Hart said.

If your bike has been gathering dust since last fall, or even longer, it might need a quick check-up before hitting the road. It’s all about ABC – air, brakes and chain.

A (air) – Check tire pressure and make sure the tires are adequately inflated.

“It’s a good idea to leave them overnight to make sure there aren’t any leaks,” Hart said.

B (brakes) – Check brake function and release, pad wear, cable and housing.

C (chain) – Check cranks and chain.

“And make sure the gears shift correctly,” Hart added.

Route ready

Bicycle commuting is good for your health and the environment, but it requires a bit of planning.

“It’s a good idea to plan your route ahead of time and even try it out to see how long it takes,” Hart said.

Rookie bicycle commuters might want to look for routes that are less busy or find others to ride with. Also consider the timing of the ride. Will you need a bike light to use during your morning or evening commute?

If you plan to commute on certain days, plan to bring your work clothes and other items to the office the day before your ride.

Not sure you’re ready for a full commute? Hart suggests a half commute. Drop your bike off ahead of time and get a ride to work or take the bus – bike racks are available on all RTA buses – and pedal home.

For those who aren’t ready for a long ride on National Bike to Work Day, participants can park their cars at a trail access area and ride to RiverScape from a closer starting point.

“It’s a great day to try out bicycle commuting,” Hart said.

Credit: Jessica Hansbauer

Credit: Jessica Hansbauer

Bike to Work Day

What: Cycling enthusiasts will gather to enjoy a free pancake breakfast, coffee, live music, cycling-related exhibitors, a photo booth and more during this celebration of human-powered transportation. Presented in conjunction with the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission.

When: Friday, May 20, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Where: RiverScape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton

Info: www.metroparks.org/bike-month/bike-to-work-day

Pedal the Day Away

Bike month is about more than bicycle commuting. With the nation’s largest paved trail network, the Miami Valley is the perfect place to take a fun ride with family or friends. Hart offers some suggested routes for a weekend ride.

“It’s always good for beginners or families with kids to go someplace fun on the route,” he said. “Anything to make it a positive experience.”

* Suggested rides

(Distances are round trip)

  • RiverScape to Wegerzyn (3.5 miles) Stillwater/Great Miami - Takes you past the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery/Triangle Park. There are a variety of downtown Dayton sites to explore after your ride.

Starting point – 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton

  • Eastwood to Downtown (3.5 miles) Venture out from Eastwood MetroPark and explore unique Dayton businesses and downtown eateries or ride in for a festival and avoid traffic and parking hassles.

Starting point – 1385 Harshman Road, Dayton

  • West Carrollton to Possum Creek (4.25 miles, hilly route) – Fishing, hiking, and camping opportunities are plentiful at Possum Creek MetroPark. Check out the newly opened nature play area and farm.

Starting point – 5641 Marina Drive (West Carrollton Erie Park)

  • RiverScape to West Carrollton (8.5 miles) Enjoy the Great Miami River, visit West Carrollton parks as well as local restaurants and points of interest.

Starting point 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton

  • Downtown to Miamisburg (13.5 miles) Miamisburg has plenty of parks – including a splash area and playgrounds – as well as unique local businesses to explore.

Starting point – 237 E. Monument Ave., Dayton

  • Taylorsville to downtown Troy (15 miles) Start at Taylorsville MetroPark and head to Troy for the day. Explore the city center, home to shops, restaurants and the popular Strawberry Festival.

Starting point: 2000 US-40, Vandalia

  • Eastwood to Xenia (15.5 miles) Enjoy a scenic riverside ride and explore Xenia’s historic district. Starting point – 1385 Harshman Road, Dayton

Credit: Jessica Hansbauer; Jan Underwood

Credit: Jessica Hansbauer; Jan Underwood

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Bike Dayton launch

Bike Miami Valley recently launched its sixth chapter with the addition of Bike Dayton, joining chapters in Centerville, Kettering, Piqua, Springfield and Yellow Springs.

Bike Dayton supports Bike Miami Valley’s mission to advocate, promote, and create opportunities for all forms of biking in the region.

“Bike Miami Valley has been an asset to our region’s bike network and a resource and champion for all those who bike, and the chapters are a key piece of this work,” said Laura Estandia, executive director of Bike Miami Valley. “The chapters are a way for individual advocates and people who are passionate to plug into the local cycling community.”

Accessibility and safety are major priorities according to Bike Dayton president Allison Veryser.

“Dayton has great access to trails and a growing network of bike lanes that benefit recreational riders as well as those riding for transportation,” Veryser said. “The founding Bike Dayton team is eager to bring a more unified, organized voice to the cycling community in Dayton while directly supporting riders with our community programming.”

Upcoming Bike Dayton community programs include “Lights on Bikes,” a partnership with the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission to distribute bike lights to adult riders to increase visibility for safe cycling, and a series of bike maintenance and safety clinics conducted in partnership with the City of Dayton Recreation Centers.

For information about joining Bike Dayton or any of the Bike Miami Valley chapters, visit www.bikemiamivalley.org/membership/.

Bike Dayton “ABCs of Bike Safety” Clinics

What: Participants will learn the basics of bike maintenance to keep their bike tuned and safe for riding throughout the summer. Clinics are free and open to all at Dayton Recreation Centers. All clinics begin at 6 p.m.

May 13 – Northwest Recreation Center

June 14 – Lohrey Recreation Center

June 30 – Greater Dayton Recreation Center

July 19 – Lohrey Recreation Center

July 28 – Greater Dayton Recreation Center

August 5 – Northwest Recreation Center

August 9 – Lohrey Recreation Center

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