What better time to get your bicycle out of storage and tuned up than National Bike Month starting May 1. Led by the League of American Bicyclists, Bike Month is a time to celebrate bicycling and encourage those who don’t bike to give it a try.
Why bike? Bicycling offers a fun and healthy way to get around. Studies show cycling elevates mood, memory, and metabolism. Cycling also reduces our carbon emissions and overall environmental impacts. All great reasons to get rolling!
This year’s Bike Month theme is “Bike There.” Since forty percent of all trips in the U.S. are less than two miles, shifting some of those trips from automobiles to bicycles can have a significant impact. Whenever you’re about to hop into your car to travel somewhere a mile or two from home, ask yourself, “Can I bike there instead?” If the answer’s yes, we hope you’ll go for it.
In addition to shifting your trips, we hope you’ll track your miles on Love to Ride’s website. Once you’re registered, you can also sign up for their National Bike Challenge. Create your own goals, connect with other bicyclists and perhaps even win a prize.
I’ve tracked 508 miles over 139 trips on Love to Ride. The site motivates me to bike more by converting my miles into pounds of carbon dioxide reduced and calories consumed. It tells me I’ve burned off 18,811 calories and reduced my carbon footprint by 160 pounds. For a bit more fun, you can enter your goals not just in miles but chocolate bars, pints of beer, or slices of cake burned off. Register today for free to get started: lovetoride.net.
Last May, Monadnock Food Co-op, Monadnock International Film Festival, and Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation hosted a virtual screening of the film, MOTHERLOAD, exploring cargo and electric bicycles. The film made such an impression that when my car died last summer, I decided to replace it with a cargo e-bike. It’s a blast to ride with lots of room for groceries. Learn more about this inspiring film at motherloadmovie.com.
“If you’re wondering how we can do more post-COVID-19 than just getting back to ‘normal’ but actually make a better world — watch this movie,” shared Ted White, Keene State College. “The film is about bicycling — yes, but also visionary dreams, sensory joy, soul-health, our struggle to escape the entrapment of technology, a way out of a consumption-based existence, and more.”
“An electric assist bike allows a non-biker the opportunity to get started with biking that they may otherwise would not have the capacity to do,” said Mike Kowalczyk, Monadnock Region Rail Trail Collaborative. “It’s a means for those that have been inactive to become active and enjoy the outdoors. It also benefits current bikers by giving them the ability to go farther.”
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to see the film. If we get enough interest, we can schedule an encore screening.
While just past Bike Month, the Kiwanis Kool Wheels Event will happen on June 5, from 10 am to 1 pm at the Keene Recreation Center. Kool Wheels is a free family event where kids ages 4-12 may select a new bicycle helmet and learn about bike safety. Kids can bring their bicycles to the event for a tune-up: keenekiwanis.org.
Besides bicycling more this May (and hopefully watching the film MOTHERLOAD), take the time to connect with the groups building a more robust cycling culture in our region and beyond.
The Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MAST) is a coalition of businesses, organizations, and individuals forwarding sustainable transportation solutions in our region: mastnh.org.
The City of Keene Bicycle and Pedestrian Pathway Advisory Committee (BPPAC) promotes communication and exchanging ideas and concerns between users of the City’s bicycle and pedestrian facilities and local officials: ci.keene.nh.us/bicycle-pedestrian-path-advisory-committee.
Pathways for Keene, Inc. (PFK) promotes the development, maintenance, and enhancement of active transportation: pathwaysforkeene.org.
Monadnock Cycling Club promotes safe and enjoyable bicycling in our region. They organize group rides and other events: monadnockcyclingclub.com.
New England Mountain Bike Association, Brattleboro-Keene Chapter (BK NEMBA)
advocates for improved access to trail networks in the region: nemba.org/chapters/bknemba.
The Keene Bike Park is a fun, family-oriented park where people of all ages can learn, play and enjoy bike-related activities: keenebikepark.org.
The Monadnock Region Rail Trail Collaborative works to restore and maintain the Cheshire, Ashuelot, and Fort Hill rail trails: http://monadnockrailtrails.org/.
Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire advocates for bicyclists and pedestrians at the state level. They offer a clearinghouse of information on their website: bwanh.org.
Hope to see you bicycling in May!
Jen Risley loves cultivating our local economy through her work with the Monadnock Food Co-op, The Local Crowd Monadnock, and Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation.