By Karen Kefauver
April 27, 2012
Link to Sentinel article
May is National Bike Month and Santa Cruz County is gearing up to celebrate in a big way. The next few weeks are packed with great events and activities designed to promote bikes and get more people out riding.
The League of American Bicyclists is the national sponsor of Bike Month. Locally, Ecology Action is the primary organizer of Bike Week [May 4-12], also known as Bike to Work, in Santa Cruz County. Aided by dozens of volunteers, sponsors and other organizations, the Bike Week celebration promises a tribute to the past as well as many tasty incentives for both novice and veteran cyclists.
"We started in 1987, and Bike Week is part of the tremendous growth of the bike culture in the past 25 years," said Piet Canin, vice president of the Transportation Group at Ecology Action.
Canin cited an increase in the number of public officials dedicated to bicycle issues, a multiplicity of bike paths and the blossoming of Santa Cruz's "full-fledged bike industry" as effects of Ecology Action's Bike to Work program in the area over the past quarter century.
To mark this milestone Bike Week, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History will showcase a bike art exhibit May 4 as part of First Friday festivities.
Another draw this year is more free food. Most years cyclists are rewarded with free breakfast on just one day of the week. This year, the feast will span the course of six days, with more businesses offering edible incentives to bicyclists -- such as free coffee at Verve on May 7.
"Sometimes it's easier to get to people's minds though their stomachs," Canin said. "The goal is to get more people to ride bikes as transportation."
He added that the popular Bike to Work and School Day happens May 10, when bike commuters can enjoy a free breakfast at one of dozens of locations throughout the county.
"We hope you can join us as we look back at the program's many achievements," Canin said. "Bike to Work has evolved into a community effort that includes 12,000 children, families and adults biking to 16 public and 45 school breakfast sites. It has helped foster the ever-growing bike culture in Santa Cruz and made our community a healthier place to live."
While May is National Bike Month, April has been full of fabulous events too and the month's not over yet. Here's a quick recap of what's happened and what's coming up:
Leandra Furber said there are still spaces available for this weekend's Trek Dirt Series skills clinic in Santa Cruz and also space for camps the next two weekends in Los Gatos. Usually these camps sell out with a long wait list, so take advantage of these experts who will show you tips on climbing, descending, cornering and more. I have attended the Dirt Series camps twice in the past five years and it has helped take my skills to the next level. Plus, I have met some cool fat-tire women, too. Epicenter Cycling is the store that hosts the camps this weekend in Santa Cruz.
Also, Michael Rein of Scotts Valley reminded me that May 5, marks the 10th annual Mt. Charlie Challenge.
This year's ride event will offer a choice of 100-mile, 100-kilometer [62 mile] or 50k routes. All courses will start and end at Skypark in Scotts Valley. The 100-mile route is new this year and will take you toward the Prunedale area.
Online registration closes Thursday and on-site registration is available.
"Although it's not exactly Amgen [Tour of California], it's our Scotts Valley Educational Foundation's biggest event of the year," Rein said. "Last year, we raised $29,000 for our schools."
In short, there's no excuse not to get on your bike in Santa Cruz County. Whatever event you do, just keep on pedaling!
Karen Kefauver www.karenkefauver.com is a freelance writer who covers sports and travel and is based in Santa Cruz.
Bike Week Santa Cruz
League of American Bicyclists - Bike Month
Sea Otter Classic Results
Mount Charlie Challenge
The 25th Annual Bike Week takes place in various locations throughout Santa Cruz County. Bike to Work/School Day, which features free breakfasts for cyclists, takes place May 10.
May 4 at Museum of Art and History
From 5-9p.m., enjoy a no-host bar and live music while enjoying art and mingling with friends. Cost: free.
Join a bike-filled evening of crafts, exhibits, and activities related to cycling. This program is presented in partnership with Ecology Action as the kickoff to Bike to Work week. Come enjoy a bike-blended margarita, make some bike chain jewelry, and learn more about the history of Bike to Work Week nationwide. From 6:30-8:30pm, steel guitar queen Patti Maxine with Tracy Parker and Tiran Porter perform on the main stage.
Santa Cruz Rolls into National Bike Month
By Karen Kefauver