Celebrating National Bike Month
Did you know that May is National Bike Month? Established in 1956, National Bike Month was created to educate the benefits of bicycling and encourage people to get on a bike and ride. National Bike Month is promoted by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Bike month includes Bike to Work Week and Bike to to Work Day events, to bring communities together in cities across America.
According to the National Household Travel Survey, “the number of trips made by bicycle in the U.S. more than doubled from 1.7 billion in 2001 to 4 billion in 2009.” Additionally, since 2005, states on average have seen a 46% increase in the number of people commuting by bicycle. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Wyoming has increased bicycle commuting by 10% from 2011 to 2017. The Antelope Butte Foundation will join this trend by also planning more bicycle-related events and bicycle programming next year. One of the things we are planning is community bike rides that will have distance options for all abilities.
It’s no surprise that more people are riding bicycles across the country. Whether you’re riding for fun, fitness, or commuting, you are receiving the physical and mental benefits that bicycles have to offer. It is widely recognized that physical activity benefits mental health as well. One of the things that COVID-19 has taught us is the importance of our mental health and finding ways to stay mentally and physically healthy, especially during these challenging times. Since COVID-19, bike ridership has significantly increased across the globe. This May, in celebration of National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclist is “not only encouraging people to bike because it is fun, but also because it feels good and is good for you. Tune up the bike in your garage or keep pedaling in the drops, but whatever you do: bike!”
Not sure how to celebrate National Bike Month?
Take your bike out of the garage, buy a bike, or borrow a bike.
Make sure you have a helmet and make sure your bike is good to go. Do an ABC Quick Check and if any of the following need to be replaced or repaired, take it into your local bike shop.
• AMake sure you have air in the tires.
• Make sure your brakes work and aren’t worn down.
• Make sure your cranks are tight and your chain doesn’t have any rust or gunk.
• Make sure your quick releases are closed and pointing to the back of the bike.
• Take a quick ride to check that everything is working.
Go for a ride. Below is a list of a few great ride options. If you have any questions about any of the routes, feel free to reach out to Antelope Butte Foundation or Sheridan Bicycle Company. We’d love to help!
• Sheridan Pathways
• Clear Creek Trail (Buffalo)
• Soldier Ridge Trail
• Hidden Hoot Trail
• Red Grade Trails
• Shell Bench Trail
• Beaver Creek Road
• Sheridan to The Brinton Museum and back
• Grouse Mountain Trail
• Tongue River Canyon Trail
• The Dead Swede 40-mile route
• Sheridan to Ucross and back
The goal is to get out on a bike and ride! Even just getting on a bike and riding around the neighborhood makes you a part of the bicycle community. If you are looking for a little more motivation, a goal, or a challenge, pick a race to prepare for:
• Antelope Butte’s Bighorn Mountains Brewfest has a 1-mile hill climb bike race on June 27
• Antelope Butte’s Summer Festival has an 4-, 8-, and 16-mile mountain bike race on July 18
• The Bad Medicine Ride in Shell has a 20-, 56-, and 90-mile bike race on Sept. 12
• The Dead Swede has a 20-, 40-, 60-, and 100-mile gravel bike race on Oct. 3
• Download the Strava app and record your rides. This is a great way to track your progress and connect with your friends to see where they are riding.
• When riding on the road, do not ride into oncoming traffic. Ride on the right side in the bike lane or shoulder, if there is one (this is state law). Try to stay off the sidewalk and leave it for walking traffic.
• Be visible and predictable to traffic. The use of hand signals is highly recommended.
• When riding on a bike path or trail, always let someone know when you are passing them. You can say “passing on your left.”
• When riding, it is always good to wear a helmet. Reflective or high-visibility apparel and gloves are also highly recommended.
• Be safe, have fun and enjoy your ride.
Nikki Ulug is development coordinator at the Antelope Butte Foundation. Her column was originally published in The Sheridan Press Saturday, May 16, 2020.
About The Sheridan Press
The Sheridan Press has served Sheridan County, Wyoming, since 1887. The award-winning independent newspaper is dedicated to informing and engaging the community by creating, producing and distributing exceptional content and trusted journalism. Online rates start at just $1.50 per week; to subscribe to The Sheridan Press, click here.