From schools to streets cycling is king in ‘National Bike Month’

At the “Bike with Pike” cycling event sponsored by the City of St. George in observance of National Bike Month, St. George, Utah, May 16, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — May is National Bike Month and cycling enthusiasts at home and across the country will be promoting their love of all things pedal power with activities throughout the month.

A designated “bike buddy” makes sure Sunset Elementary students properly lock their bikes into the newly installed racks, St. George, Utah, April 25, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah Bicycle Alliance, St. George News

From the trail to the streets, in bike shops and cycling alliances, bikes have become an integral part of the way Southern Utah recreates, exercises and commutes and May is the perfect time to get out and ride.

In the Washington County School District the bike month celebration started a little early as students from Sunset Elementary were invited to ride their bikes to school April 25, the first time in nearly a decade.

The day was an emotional one for students, staff and especially the Southern Utah Bicycle Alliance and St. George Active Transportation Committee, on hand to help out with the momentous occasion.

A post to the alliance’s Facebook page said:

Few mornings were as fun and emotional as today at Sunset Elementary School, which until today has not allowed biking to school. However, after a year long process, today was the official first day of biking to school … and the kids were thrilled!

It has been almost 10 years since bikes were allowed at the elementary school, said Marc Mortensen, Utah Bicycle Alliance board member and member of the Active Transportation Committee.

A combination of factors went into the old decision to remove biking, including one child being hit by a car, Mortensen said.

Sunset Elementary, located at 495 N. Westridge Drive, St. George, is a no-bus school, Mortensen said, and cycling is a great way for students to travel to school.

Bringing bike riding back to the school was a focus of both the Bicycle Alliance and Active Transportation Committee, Mortensen said. The organizations worked with school faculty and parents for almost a year to complete the process.

At the “Bike with Pike” cycling event sponsored by the City of St. George in observance of National Bike Month, St. George, Utah, May 16, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Students had to undergo proper bike safety training before being allowed to ride their bikes. The school installed bike racks since there were none on the property.

Through a donation to the Bicycle Alliance from the Ironman Foundation — Ironman and Ironman 70.3’s charitable wing — and with the help of McArthur Welding, Mortensen said, the alliance was able to secure 305 bike rack stalls, 150 of them installed at Sunset Elementary.

On April 25 students and a slew of “bike buddy” volunteers rode their bikes to school for the first time in a long time.

Though Mortensen said there is still some apprehension among some parents and faculty members the majority of the experience has been very positive.

It is a feeling which will carry into National Bike Month as cycling advocates bring continued awareness to their communities about bicycle safety and the use of bikes for both transportation and for enjoyment.

“There is a lot of positive momentum building towards cycling,” Mortensen said. “It’s awesome.”

Bike month activities 

Monday, May 1 | National Bike Month begins | Everywhere

Thursday, May 4, 5 p.m. | Bike Month Proclamation | City Council Chambers, 175 E. 200 North, St. George

  • St. George Mayor Jon Pike will proclaim May as Bike Month in St. George during the City Council meeting.

Friday, May 5, 6-10 p.m. | Georgefest Bike Night | Historic Main Street, St. George

  • Georgefest guests are encouraged to ride their bike to the monthly first Friday gathering.

Saturday, May 6, morning | Ironman 70.3 North American Pro Championship | See bike course map

  • Cheer on the triathletes as they swim, bike and run throughout Washington County en route to finishing the Ironman 70.3 St. George.

Monday, May 8, 5:30 p.m. | Bike With Pike | Crosby Family Confluence Park, 2099 S. Convention Center Drive, St. George

  • This fun activity is a great way to get the entire family out on a bike. The ride offers two distance options; the 5.2-mile Mayor’s Loop; and a one mile out and back ride for smaller kids. A free hot dog barbecue, bike path information and other activities will follow the ride.

Wednesday, May 10, 7:30-8:30 a.m. | National Bike to School Day | Schools throughout the nation.

  • Join students as they ride their bikes to school in a collective effort to raise bicycle safety awareness.

Friday, May 12, 6 p.m. | St. George Bike Film Festival | Electric Theater, 68 E. Tabernacle, St. George

  • This free event features over 20 bicycle films curated by the Portland, Oregon Filmed-By-Bike film festival organization. The event is brought to the public by the Southern Utah Bicycle Alliance and the St. George Active Transportation Committee.

Monday through Friday, May 15-19 | National Bike to Work Week | Across the nation.

  • Take advantage of the opportunity to commute to work by bike and join fellow cyclists as they enjoy active transportation.

Friday, May 19, 7-9 a.m. | Bike to Work Pit Stop | Corner of St. George Boulevard and Main Street.

  • Join Pike, the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, members of Southern Utah Bicycle Alliance and St. George Active Transportation Committee as they provide coffee, fruit, bagels and donuts to bike commuters.

Bike shop events

Rapid Cycling, 705 N. Bluff St. or 446 S. Mall Drive in St. George has a host of events slated for National Bike Month. From guided rides to clinics and tent sales Rapid Cycling has you covered. See a full calendar of events here.

Red Rock Bicycle Company, 446 W. 100 South, St. George keeps the two-wheeled fun going all month long with rides for every level, bike skills challenges and more. Stop into the shop or check out this calendar of events.

Cycling advocate resources

Email: hreina@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • Caveat_Emptor May 2, 2017 at 8:19 am

    For those readers who may not appreciate the bike path system within SW Washington County, it is excellent by any standard of comparison.
    St. George City has stitched numerous stretches of trails together into a very effective network, that offers a comparatively safe alternative to riding on the shoulder of a busy street. Washington City has made nice progress along the Virgin River, but still has opportunities to improve safety along Telegraph, and finish up shoulders along Washington Fields Rd.
    As often as we read of automobile accidents in these pages, bicycles need a safe alternative to sharing city streets. We still have sections of road where the “bike lane” is essentially the gutter, so future improvements need to be prioritized.
    Thanks to the transportation planners who built the foundation of a great trail system!

  • utahdiablo May 2, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    From SR 18 to the Coral Canyon area and beyond towards Hurricane Utah, there are miles and miles of paved Bike trails….yet where do the riders most of the time ride? On the road near traffic…. please use the paved trails, our tax money went there for your benefit, lets try to work together to end bike deaths on the roadways

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