Monday, June 6, 2016

Velomoon - May 2016, Bike Month Recap

What began in 1956 as "American Bicycle Month," initiated by the Bicycle Institute of America - an American manufacturers' group - (or possibly the Cycle Trade Association?) is now the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Month. This is an entire month full of events designed for raising awareness of cycling. For me, every month is bike month but in May I have national-level support when I say, "hey, you should ride your bike!"

For those who can't focus for an entire month, there was bike week. And if a week is too much, there was bike to work day - which was basically just two hours in the morning as far as I could tell, with free coffee cake.

Previously, I participated in a bike challenge called Errandonnée - using your bike to run errands. This became my stepping stone towards mostly eliminating a car from my daily life. This month, I did some organized challenges and events as well as some that I made up myself, just goals really.

National Bike Challenge,
State of California Rankings
1. National Bike Challenge (nationalbikechallenge.org): This is a competition against others to ride the most miles. There are teams (by company, by advocacy group, by club, etc.) as well as state level and community rankings. The challenge was very convenient for me because I simply linked it to my Strava account once and everything else happened automatically.

Team Bike Challenge
2. Team Bike Challenge (bikeeastbay.org): The challenge was almost identical except that it was a regional competition for the East Bay communities. It required manual effort to log each "commute" ride and has some drawbacks which annoyed me but I did it all month. I suspect from watching the leaderboards that other cyclists gave up logging rides at some point.

3. Personal Goal, Only Drive When Necessary: I never drove alone. I only drove a car in situations where someone else was with me - e.g., going out for dinner with my wife. That meant riding my bike to get groceries, to work (or the train station), to other errands. There were rainy days and hot days and challenges like how to bring eggs home from the store.

4. Brewvet Challenge (not online this year): This is a beer-themed adaptation of the randonneur community. To complete the challenge, one must take five rides and drink at least one, unique beer each time and accumulate at least 50 miles. As with the randonneur events, documentation is required - an Instagram photo is sufficient. I completed that challenge, too.

5. Bike to Work Day: This is how cycling went from one of many recreational activities for me, to a defining theme in my life. A few years ago, I would ride about 50 miles per week and drive my car at least 250 miles per week. That year, I rode my bike to work because of Bike to Work Day for the first time. Little by little, it increased to the point where I now ride at least 250 miles per week and probably haven't bought gasoline in close to two months. So, Bike to Work Day 2016 is more about me being an advocate, trying to help the new cyclists and simply being a good example. We had a nice group of about 35 riders do the ~30 mile commute from Pleasanton to San Jose.

6. Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trails Committee (City of Pleasanton): In April, I applied to be on a committee for our City government dealing with bicycle and pedestrian trails. I interviewed with the Mayor and was appointed. This will be a four-year commitment. Hopefully, I can do some good in what is already a pretty good community for cyclists, walkers and hikers.

7. Global Bike to Work Day (strava.com): While the regional Bike to Work Day was on a Thursday, other organizations claimed either Tuesday or Friday. Strava is a website where cyclists, runners and other types of athletes log their activities and get kudos from their friends. Occasionally, they create challenges to motivate the users. One of these was Global Bike to Work Day. I clicked the icon to join the challenge and, since I rode on that particular day, I completed the challenge. Kudos for me.

According to Strava, I rode over 1,250 miles in the month of May.


NOTES:

"A brief history of National Bike Month", Dr. James Longhurst, University of Washington Press blog, May 14, 2015, https://uwpressblog.com/2015/05/14/a-brief-history-of-national-bike-month/  (Bicycle Institute of America)

"National Bike to Work Month– hatched 56 years ago this May,"   April 25, 2012, https://swanislandtma.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/national-bike-to-work-month-hatched-56-years-ago-this-may/  (Cycle Trade Association)

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