May has long been nationally recognized as “Bike Month” thanks to the League of American Bicyclists. This includes Bike to Work Week, Bike to School Day, and a whole host of bike-centric activities. Cyclists who hang up their spokes for the winter months, the bike-curious and seasoned, all-weather riders get a chance to bump helmets and swap routes over pancakes or pints. Or, naturally, on wheels.
Spokane’s celebration of Bike Month is no longer just about bike commuting. The month-long Bike Everywhere Month celebrates all reasons for biking, whether for transportation or recreation. Still, the goal remains the same: To get as many people on bikes as possible.
“We’re trying to be a little more inclusive,” says organizer Sally Phillips, who is treasurer of Spokane Bicycle Club. “Let’s count all the mileage, not just the biking to work.” Phillips hopes this change will engage people who otherwise wouldn’t have participated because they cannot ride their bike to work. Many beloved Bike to Work Week events will remain, and riders can still participate in a month-long mileage challenge.
The National Bike Challenge, where riders log miles, compete with friends and vie for status, will run its nationwide commute challenge through Strava this year. To participate, visit the Spokane Bikes website and follow the links to sign up. Spokane County riders logged about 50,000 miles last year, Phillips says.
The Riverfront Park pancake breakfast, the event that has kicked off Spokane’s Bike to Work Week for a decade, will be held on May 1 this year, marking the beginning of Bike Everywhere Month. That’s not the only change: Breakfast will be served on the north end of the park at the picnic shelter to steer clear of park construction, instead of the usual location at Gondola Meadows.
Rides, clinics and activities throughout the month will offer riders many participation options. Events organized by the Spokane Bicycle Club and other groups in Spokane County are listed on the Bike to Work Week website. Spokane Bicycle Club will host several group rides specifically geared toward bicyclists who are just starting out.
“We’ve got a bunch of little, short, sometimes quirky rides that we’re putting on during the month, under 10 miles,” Phillips says. “They’re kind of intended to be for people casual riders and maybe people who are not used to riding in groups.” Highlights include a Mother’s Day park loop at Comstock Park, a downtown bicycle tour with public officials, and a women-only Kendall Yards Centennial Trail ride.
A “Pub & Grub” ride will feature a short downtown jaunt with stops at Liberty Ciderworks and Soulful Soups, where patrons on bikes will receive a discount. “Bike & Hike” on the final day of Bike Everywhere Month meets at Ferris High School and tours three southside natural areas. Newcomers to the world of biking can learn the basics at two clinics: “Getting Started Biking” at the East Side Library and a flat tire-fixing clinic at REI.
During national Bike to Work Week, May 15-19, the Spokane Bicycle Club will host morning energizer stations with coffee and snacks along popular commute routes. There’s also a Ride of Silence in memory of local traffic collision victims, and a pizza party with door prizes at River City Brewing to celebrate riders’ achievements. Kids also get to participate in Bike Everywhere Month. Kidical Mass, organized by the Spokefest Association, gathers kids for a 3-mile Chief Garry Park ride. Bolts Bike Festival at Spokane Public Montessori offers families a fun way to learn about bike safety.
Phillips hopes the diverse options will encourage people to ride more regularly and provide more options for people who encounter barriers to participating in Bike to Work Week. “A week is sometimes not enough,” she says. “Maybe you’re doing something else that week or maybe the weather is terrible that week.” Find more information about Bike Everywhere Month at Spokanebikes.org. //
Bike Everywhere Month Calendar
Monday, May 1 – Kick-off Breakfast
Sunday, May 7 – Bloomsday Bike Corral
Wednesday, May 10 – Bike to School Day
Thursday, May 11 – Pub & Grub Ride
Saturday, May 13 – Kidical Mass Ride
Sunday, May 14 – Mother’s Day Park ‘n Cookies Ride
Tuesday, May 16 – Energizer Stations
Wednesday, May 17 – Ride of Silence
Thursday, May 18 – Bike Lanes and Downtown Trails Ride
Friday, May 19 – Bike Everywhere Day Celebration at River City Brewing
Tuesday, May 23 – Ben Burr Trail and Iron Bridge Ride
Sunday, May 28 – Ugly Industrial Ride
Tuesday, May 30 – Women-only Kendall Yards Ride, REI Flat-fixing Clinic
Wednesday, May 31 – Hike & Bike in Southside Natural Areas //
Erika Prins Simonds bicycles as her primary mode of transportation. You can find more of her writing at erikaprins.com.