Monday, May 3, 2010

Bike Month begins, hopes to change local bicycle culture

Bike Month kicked off on Saturday, the beginning of more than 31 days of events focused on bicycling advocacy and education in Greater Cincinnati.

"More and more people in Cincinnati are discovering that bicycling is a great way to get around town, in addition to being great exercise on the weekend," said Gary Wright, president of Queen City Bike. "It doesn't matter if you are old or young. It doesn't matter if you haven't been on a bike in 20 years. Just about anybody can ride a bike. It's good for the environment, it's good for our community, and it's good, healthy fun for you."

Among the highlights featured on Queen City Bike's official calendar:

  • Queen City Bike + Dine, a progressive dinner to several local restaurants that serves as a fundraiser for Queen City Bike;
  • BikeFlix, a bicycle-themed movie shown every Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Grammer's, 1440 Walnut Street;
  • Cyclebration/Super Rad Bike Show, from noon to 4 p.m. on June 5, where rides organized by the Cincinnati Cycle Club from throughout the region will converge on Newport to view custom bicycles.
A full list of events is available on the Queen City Bike website.

Master plan meeting

The public will have the opportunity to give its input into the upcoming Cincinnati Bicycle Master Plan on May 5 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center, 3711 Clifton Avenue.

The long-term plan, scheduled for completion later this summer, will ensure that bike infrastructure such as sharrows, bike lanes and the recently-installed bicycle corral in Northside come to fruition.

"The comprehensive bike plan gives ground to the small projects," says Jess Linz, board member of Northside-based MoBo Bicycle Co-op. "When these play into a larger vision, they make more sense. It's very exciting that the city has a plan to include bicycles, and this allows space for the corrals, sharrows, lanes and other infrastructure to be validated and implemented."

These projects – in addition to safety and awareness initiatives – could lead to a more bicycle-friendly city.

"This comes back to the chicken and the egg," Linz says. "As more people ride, the city becomes more bicycle-friendly, but until it is more bicycle-friendly, people are disinclined to ride on a large scale. I think that we're getting closer and closer to the tipping point though, with the city making moves to facilitate more use of the bicycle, as well as more citizens just going out and riding."

Bike-to-Work Week

Those new to bicycling are encouraged to stop by Findlay Market on any Saturday in May from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to get information about bike trails, street riding, events, and safety from local volunteers.

But more seasoned riders are encouraged to commute to work during Bike-to-Work Week, May 17-21.

Commuter stations will be set up from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., offering free coffee and snacks. A bicycle mechanic will be on hand, and the latest Cincinnati Bike Route Guide will be available to riders.

These stations will be located:
A celebration of Bike-to-Work week is scheduled for May 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fountain Square.

Photo credit: "Mountain View bicycle commuter" by Flickr user richardmasoner, Creative Commons attribution-share alike 2.0 generic license.

Previous reading on BC:
Region's first bike 'corral' opens in Northside (4/27/10)
Report on Cincinnati Parks bike policies due this month (4/8/10)
Bike lanes added to Dana Avenue (12/2/09)
Large turnout for bicycle planning open house (10/12/09)
Interactive OKI bike route guide now online (7/15/09)