May is National Bike Month, and we’ll be celebrating this event big time here in Carson City. We’re going to have group rides, a city-wide bicycle commuter challenge, bicycle repair clinics, movies, social events, parties, and many prizes to give away. There will be be something fun to do for just about everyone.
There are several reasons to ride a bike. We ride bicycles for transportation, to exercise and stay healthy, for recreation, and to be kind to the planet. And what’s great is you can combine all these elements, and enjoy the all the benefits at the same time.
The bicycle is an extraordinarily efficient machine. A human traveling on a bicycle at low to medium speeds of around 10–15 mph uses only the energy required to walk. In an urban environment, it’s easy to get to where you’re going quickly on a bike. You will often find that the bicycle is actually quicker than a car when getting around the city, especially when you factor in traffic congestion and parking problems. And this year, with gasoline prices averaging around $4 per gallon, biking for transportation makes more sense than ever.
Far fewer of our children get to school by walking or by bike than they did 30 years ago. Our school zones have become some of the worst traffic problems in the city, and the pollution is higher in these areas because of all the idling vehicles. Getting kids back on bikes will easily solve these problems we’ve created.
Exercise and Health
It’s no secret that Americans need more exercise. Biking to work and other activities is an efficient and fun way to get the exercise you need, without having to find extra time to work out. And now that we have warmer weather and extended daylight, getting out with the family for an evening bike ride is a great way to spend quality time together and keep the whole family fit. Once you get the bike bug, it’s not long before you want to see how far you can ride or how high you can climb. We live in a great area to test both of these activities, and push your body to new fitness levels.
Good for the Environment
Biking reduces air and noise pollution, cuts down on traffic congestion, making our community a healthier and safer place to live. More bicycle use means a smaller carbon footprint. Autos are the single largest source of U.S. air pollution. Short trips are up to three times more polluting per mile than long trips. When bicycling is substituted for short auto trips, 3.6 pounds of pollutants per mile are not emitted into the atmosphere. Ten bikes can park in the space used by a single motor vehicle. Too often overlooked and underrated, the bicycle is the simplest and most pleasurable way to get healthier while saving our environment and reconnecting with our community in a positive way.
In addition to being so practical and good for you and your community, bicycles are fun! Riding a bike as an adult is just as fun as it was as a kid. It’s an activity that most everyone can participate in, no matter what their age or income bracket. Cycling is something the whole family can participate in, and it can be done locally. With gas prices high and employment low, there will be many “stay-cations” this year. Thankfully, there is so much you can do on a bicycle in and near Carson City. We have many paths and trails to explore around the city. Carson City has many events that are more fun to attend on a bicycle. There are many country roads and mountain passes to explore just outside the city limits. Challenging mountain bike trails await the adventurous in the surrounding mountains. It doesn’t take long to get away from it all and find solitude here in Nevada!
So now that you know how great the bicycle is, and how wonderful it is living in Carson City, here’s a look at some of the events we have going on for May’s Bike Month.
- 5/1 – Tour of Carson Road Ride hosted by the Bike Habitat
- 5/4 – Womens Bicycle Repair Clinic at the Bike Habitat. A class for women, taught by a woman.
- 5/9 – Downtown ride with Carson City Supervisors! 11:00 AM at Telegraph Square
- 5/11 – Vulnerable User Procession
- 5/11 – Flat Tire Repair Clinic at the Bike Smith
- 5/14 – Bicycle Movie Night
- 5/16 – 5/20 – Bike to Work Week including the Corporate Challenge. Last year, Carson City cyclists completed 987 trips by bike and logged in 3,234 miles!
- 5/16 – After work Bike Social at the Tap Shack with live music.
- 5/18 – West Side Cruiser Ride – 6:00PM at Telegraph Square
- 5/20 – Bike to Work Day. Free Coffee at commuter stations. Evening party at the Firkin and Fox with live music, prizes, and other activities.
- 5/21 – Run (and ride) for the Bucket at Riverview Park
For up to date times and locations, more events, and additional information, visit the events calendar at BikeCarson.com.
To make your bicycling experience easier and keep up to date on what’s going on, consider these resources.
- Websites: Follow BikeCarson.com and MusclePowered.org to keep current on the current bicycle news and issues in Carson City. You can find both Bike Carson and Muscle Powered on Facebook as well.
- Maps: Visit one of the Carson City bike shops to pick up a Muscle Powered bike route map. You can also download an online version on the MusclePowered.org resource page. Google Maps also has a bicycling and walking view when getting the directions from one place to another.
- Carson City Bike Rack Database: A link to the Bike Rack Database can be found on the MusclePowered.org resource page. Knowing that there will be a secure place to lock your bike up at your destination will give you peace of mind before heading out.
- Local Bike Shops – Visit one of our three local bike shops. Knowledgeable and helpful staff at the Bicycle Authority, the Bike Smith, and Bike Habitat will answer questions, tune-up your bike, outfit you with gear, and maybe even set you up on a new bike!