Celebrate National Bike to Work Month

By Maggie Mudoch, Salida Recreation Supervisor

My little boy will be 2 in June. A few months ago, he started what I hope will become a life-long love affair with a two-wheeler. “Hopper” was handed down to my son by his older cousins, who, at the ages of 5 and 3, are already ripping up single-track with their parents in Park City, UT, and are clamoring to enter their first bike race this summer. With Hopper between his legs, Isaac gets a determined look on his face as he pushes it over bumps in the sidewalk and rocky patches of dirt. I can already see the pride on his face when he looks up at me after gaining a small hill with his short, skinny little legs, loving every minute.

Of course, he doesn’t have much stamina yet, or a very long attention span, so usually a few blocks away from home he lays it down and mom or dad ends up carrying Hopper while Isaac trots along in his bike helmet. But I know those skills will come, so long as he is provided with pressure-free access to his little green machine.

Need a low-pressure reason to hop on your bike? Well, May is National Bike to Work Month, with May 16 being National Bike to Work Day. How about free coffee, generously provided by Café Dawn, unlimited high-fives, and a chance to win passes to Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center’s private soaking pools? No big deal, just swing by the Aquatic Center at 410 W Hwy 50, anytime between 7 – 9 am on Friday May 16. That’s it! (Maybe hope for some decent weather, too!)

If you need some tips on how to make bicycling comfortable and safe, please stop by one of Salida’s three friendly bike shops and follow these five “rules of the road”, from the League Of American Bicyclists:

   FOLLOW THE LAW – Your safety and image of bicyclists depend on you. You have the same rights and duties as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.

   BE PREDICTABLE – Make your intentions clear to everyone on the road. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Signal turns, and check behind you well before turning or changing lanes.

   BE CONSPICUOUS – Ride where people can see you and wear bright clothing. Use a front white light, red rear light and reflectors when visibility is poor. Make eye contact with others and don’t ride on sidewalks.

   THINK AHEAD – Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians, and other people on bikes will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Look out for debris, potholes, and other road hazards. Cross railroad tracks at right angles.

   RIDE READY – Check that your tires have sufficient air, brakes are working, chain runs smoothly, and quick release levers are closed. Carry tools and supplies that are appropriate for your ride. Wear a helmet.

This will be the final year that Salida Recreation, in conjunction with LiveWell Salida, organizes an event on National Bike to Work Day. Actually, there are a few different days we could pick to celebrate bike commuting, such as Colorado’s Bike to Work Day (Wednesday, June 25). June is Colorado’s Bike to Work Month, but at Salida Recreation, June is just a busy, busy month for us!

However, the 2nd week of September will be Salida’s 3rd Annual Bike Fest. With bike races, bike movies, bike speakers, bike parades and more, this week looks to be a perfect time to pump up all the bike commuters in this town, and see if we can add a few more to our ranks!

In the plans for the week of September 8 – 14 will be a challenge to log your bike trips, anywhere for any reason. We’ll reach out to workplace wellness groups, children and anyone who will listen! Look for those details, including some great prizes and incentives for putting a little two-wheeled fun into your life.

Many details about the Salida Bike Fest can already be found at www.salidabikefest.com. Last year, we successfully revived the Banana Belt bike race, a long-standing community favorite, and added the Monarch Crest Crank to our line-up. Find out everything you’ll need to know to register for these events, and more, on the website.

At Salida Recreation, we are passionate about providing many opportunities for low-pressure, active fun. Please come celebrate National Bike to Work Day with us on Friday, May 16 (you don’t even need to be riding to work…) from 7 – 9 am at the Aquatic Center, and look for details to come on September’s Bike Commuting Challenge!