‘Bike with Pike’ inspires: Pedal here, pedal there, you can get active

ST GEORGE — A city-organized event brought together bicycling enthusiasts, kids and city officials, including St. George Mayor Jon Pike, for a 5-mile tour of some of the city’s available bicycle trails Monday evening.

Bicycles stand at the ready for the “Bike with Pike” biking awareness event at the Crosby Family Confluence Park, St. George, Utah, May 8, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

The biannual “Bike with Pike” event served as a kickoff for National Bike Month.

The community was invited for free food, fun and biking information at the Crosby Family Confluence Park, 1850 S. Convention Center Drive, where the park fittingly serves as a trailhead for the Mayor’s 5.2-mile loop, where the Virgin and Santa Clara rivers meet and the Virgin River and Santa Clara trail systems branch off.

See video in the media player top of this report.

“A lot of people share cycling as a common interest and so we hold this event so people can get to know each other and also just experience the joy of riding in Southern Utah,” St. George Assistant to the City Manager Marc Mortensen said.

Mortensen, who also serves on the city’s Active Transportation Committee, said that accommodating bicycling in St. George is a major priority for the mayor and the City Council.

“A few months ago, the City Council of St. George passed an active transportation ordinance that folds into our master transportation plans; so that way, as we’re making decisions about roads, we’re thinking about bikes and pedestrians as well.”

The recently adopted plan was the result of 1 ½ years of planning and discussion with input from over 600 people, Mortensen said, including community members and city officials.

“We have identified in this plan some ways that we can enhance that (transportation plan) with bike lanes that are wider and some that would be buffered with striping and additional stencils to really call attention to the fact that bikes are going to be there,” Pike said.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike rides with other bicyclists in the “Bike with Pike” biking awareness event at the Crosby Family Confluence Park, St. George, Utah, May 8, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Such plans have already been put into motion and will be implemented in the coming months.

“The plan calls out for some new bike lanes to go in on roads that we’re resurfacing,” Mortensen said. “So, you’ll start to see that this year as we do our road resurfacing projects.”

In addition to making it easier to get around by bicycle, the city is also seeking to get bikes into the hands of more people by working to help permanently establish the Bicycle Collective of Southern Utah in downtown St. George.

The Bicycle Collective is a nonprofit organization focusing on providing bicycles to kids and low-income households with discounted recycled bikes.

“We take donated bicycles, we fix them up and we put them back out into the community,” Dannielle Larkin, board chair of the Bicycle Collective of Southern Utah said.

The collective accepts bikes from all sources, including private donations and unclaimed bicycles from the police department.

Read more: City Council approves donation of unclaimed bicycles to nonprofit

Any bike is accepted, regardless of whether it’s in working condition.

The Bicycle Collective of Southern Utah holds a booth at the “Bike with Pike” biking awareness event at the Crosby Family Confluence Park, St. George, Utah, May 8, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

The collective works on volunteer labor, and people can earn bikes instead of paying for them by helping with maintenance and repair work.

“People can come buy them for a discounted rate or if they don’t have the money for a bike they can come and earn a bike or we can give them a bicycle if they’ve earned it through Switchpoint (Community Resource Center in St. George) or the soup kitchen or any of the other charitable organizations in town,” Larkin said.

The collective had a booth at the event to get the word out about the affordable-yet-quality bikes the organization offers and to help increase bicycle use in general.

“So many people think of bikes as recreation but they’re so much more than that,” Mortensen said. “We want people to know that it’s an effective way to get around town. Driving your car may take you 10 minutes, a bike may take you 15, but you burn calories, you’re healthier and that’s one less car on the roads to congest our area roads.”

As part of the month’s celebration of biking, the city is also holding a “Bike to Work” week May 15-19, encouraging commuters to leave their cars home and ride to work.

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Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

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

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