Get on your bike

Chico gets in on National Bike Month action with local events

May is National Bike Month, 31 full days dedicated to our favorite two-wheeled mode of transportation. The idea behind the annual celebration, according to the League of American Bicyclists, is twofold: to give the pubic a better understanding of the benefits of bicycling and to encourage more people to ride.

There are myriad benefits to riding a bike: It’s a great nonstrenuous form of exercise; it saves money on the gas riders would have otherwise purchased for their vehicles; it reduces the amount of cars clogging roadways, lessening traffic jams and also the level of exhaust spewing into the air; and let’s not forget that riding a bike is just plain enjoyable.

That joy factor has not been lost on local biking advocacy groups. Chico Velo’s annual Wildflower rides marked an early kick-off point to National Bike Month, and the Butte Bike Coalition is keeping things running by coordinating a number of excellent, fun, bike-centric activities and events, including last week’s Bike to School Week.

There is one event that has a more serious tone—the Ride of Silence—to honor people who have been injured or killed on bicycles (May 20). Bicycle safety is a big concern, considering the deaths of Janee Nickerson and Kristina Chesterman, local college students who were struck and killed while riding their bicycles on Chico streets. See for more on this ride and for a full list of Bike Month events.

Next up is National Bike to Work Day, this Friday, May 15. Here in Chico, locals will have a chance to celebrate their efforts pedaling to work with an organized ride from City Plaza to the Empire Club in Durham, departing downtown at 5:30 p.m. It’s the first year of this 12-mile, round-trip “happy hour” ride. And it sure sounds like a lot of fun (drink responsibly, of course).