More than recreation, cycling can also provide daily transportation, which makes Bike to Work Day a cause for celebration.
“Biking is a really good alternative to driving, both for your own health and the health of the environment,” said MetroParks sustainability manager Tim Pritchard. “Each time you opt to walk or bike to work, run an errand or meet friends, you are lessening your carbon footprint.”
A full slate of Bike to Work activities are scheduled for Friday, May 19 but the entire month of May is celebrated as National Bike Month. Established by The League of American Bicyclists in 1956, National Bike Month showcases cycling and encourages people to try pedal power.
“We want to encourage people to start or continue to ride to work,” said Jordan Hart, MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator.
The Miami Valley is an ideal place for cycling enthusiasts of all ages and ability levels to bike for recreation and transportation.
“The Dayton region is home to 350 miles of paved trails – the nation’s largest paved trail network,” Hart said. “Our community has a rich history of being a bike-friendly region which is beneficial for residents and an economic driver.”
Ohio is currently No. 17 nationally in The League of American Bicyclists bicycle friendly state rankings with 21 Bicycle Friendly Communities. Seven of those communities are in the Miami Valley – Beavercreek, Dayton, Kettering, Piqua, Springboro, Troy and Yellow Springs.
Ready to celebrate all things cycling?
Bike to Work Day Pancake Breakfast
Join hundreds of cycling enthusiasts for coffee, camaraderie and, of course, pancakes at RiverScape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Ave., from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. There will also be live entertainment and cycling-related exhibitors.
Last year, Bike to Work cyclists collectively logged 2,885 miles. Thirty-six percent of the 350 registered participants were first-time bicycle commuters.
The first 500 cyclists to pre-register will receive a free gift. However, pre-registration is not required and registration will be accepted on site. For more information, visit www.metroparks.org/bike-month/celebrate-national-bike-to-work-day/.
Miami Valley Cycling Summit
The Miami Valley Cycling Summit gets underway Friday at 9:15 a.m. at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St.
With the theme of Cycling Builds Community, hear from local leaders and cycling advocates about a variety of topics including Dayton’s Active Transportation Plan and Troubling Trends in Cycling. A complete schedule and list of presentations is available at www.bikemiamivalley.org/cycling-summit-2021-schedule/.
Bike parking will be available in the park directly behind the library’s rear entrance.
Dayton Bike Yard Grand Opening
The fun doesn’t end on Friday as the Dayton Bike Yard grand opening will be held on Saturday, May 20 at Welcome Park, 1437 S Edwin C Moses Blvd., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Join the bike parade – which will begin at the Five Rivers Health Center, 721 Miami Chapel Road, at 11 a.m. – or meet at the Bike Yard for an afternoon of family fun.
Enjoy demonstrations and clinics or take a ride on the flow trail or jump line. Check out local vendors and food trucks. Rental bikes will be available.
Pedal your way to fun and adventure
Bike Month can be just the beginning of a spring and summer full of cycling adventures. Whether you are just getting started or ready for a weekend-long adventure, there are numerous options. The aforementioned Hart shares a few suggested routes for a weekend ride.
- Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark to RiverScape (7 miles roundtrip)
Park at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark (1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave.) and ride down to RiverScape MetroPark. Cool off by the interactive fountains and enjoy some ice cream at the café before heading back. A great ride for the family.
- Dayton to Huffman Prairie Flying Field (16 miles roundtrip)
Start downtown at RiverScape MetroPark (237 E. Monument Ave.) and follow the scenic Mad River Trail to Huffman Prairie Flying Field and celebrate Dayton’s rich aviation history. If you’d prefer a shorter route, start the ride at Eastwood MetroPark (1385 Harshman Road).
- Dayton to Miamisburg (26 miles roundtrip)
More seasoned bikers might enjoy a longer ride. Head south from RiverScape along the trail to Downtown Miamisburg. Check out the unique shops, grab a bite to eat or enjoy a refreshing beverage before making the return trip.
Want to combine a ride with an overnight adventure? There are a variety of trailside campsites throughout the Miami Valley where you can pitch a tent, kick back and relax after a day on the trail. Eastwood, Island and Taylorsville Metroparks all have trailside camping as do other local parks.
“Before you head out on a longer overnight ride, this is a great way to test your gear out,” Hart said. “Find out what you actually need and don’t need while you’re close to home.”
For information or to make a reservation for a MetroParks campsite, visit www.metroparks.org/easy/. For information on additional campsites in and around the Miami Valley, visit www.miamivalleytrails.org/camping.
Link up for cycling fun
As part of National Bike Month, Link: Dayton Bike Share is offering all new users the opportunity to “Try Link for Free.” First-time Link riders can enjoy their first 30-minute trip any for free, only paying the $1 unlocking fee.
Link – which launched in May 2015 – has expanded from 24 to 37 hubs and now offers a fleet of white eLink electric assist bikes as well as the familiar green traditional Link bikes.
How to take a free ride:
* Download the Link Dayton Bike Share app on the Google or Apple app store.
* Set up your account following the prompts offered by the app. The system should recognize any new user automatically.
* Check out a bike, new users will be able to check out any of the Link bikes, ride around the city for 30 minutes or less and lock the bike back at any of the Link hubs, and their account will only be charged the $1 unlocking fee.
Returning Link riders have a variety of payment options to choose from, including individual ride rates, day passes and 90-day or annual memberships.
“We often have promotions and coupons for weekends, specific days, and certain events,” said Daniel Cox, Bike Miami Valley marketing and outreach manager. “Our coupons and promotions are often displayed on our social media. We also have banners in our app showing coupons and ways to improve our system, so just opening the app will often prompt our customers with a coupon or a survey with a chance to win an annual membership or other Link gift.”