The weather is warming, the plants are blooming, and many of us may already feel the pull to be outside more. Why not hop on our bicycles and save money on gas while we’re at it? Bon Secours and Sportsbackers kicked off their Fourth Annual RVA Bike Month last week and for the entire month of May, bicycle-themed events and celebrations will take place throughout the city.
“It has been great to watch an exciting month of events grow to be something with which other organizations choose to partner,” said Brantley Tyndall, community engagement manager at Sportsbackers. “I’m so pleased that the healthy community aspect of riding bikes is something Bon Secours wants to highlight as a new sponsor of the program.”
From food-geared events such as a taco tour and pizza crawl to bike parties and charity events, RVA Bike Month will offer a little something for everyone.
Some events will feature safety discussions to ensure that Richmond’s cyclists are prepared to take on this eco-friendly means of transportation safely. There will a “Crossing of the James” history ride, a “Bike to School Day”, treasure hunt, Outpost Richmond’s 200k Adventure Ride, Kids Introduction to BMX, a Strava Art Ride and much more.
Participants in Bike Month are also encouraged to take a Vision Zero pledge, part of a multinational road traffic safety concept to achieve zero traffic-related deaths and major injuries .
“The solutions are manifold, but education and citizen participation are among them, and Bike Walk RVA’s Vision Zero Pledge coincides with our RVA Bike Month program to educate drivers, bike riders, and people who walk (which is essentially everyone) that we must all do our part,” Tyndall said.
“That means following the law (regardless of how you’re getting around), putting your phone down, being visible and predictable, slowing down, abstaining from driving with alcohol or other substances in your system, and removing all forms of distraction when behind the wheel.”
The event is in its fourth year, but this year may be pivotal for bikers, as Richmond has made stronger cycles towards including more bike lanes and racks throughout the city.
“I think bikes make Richmond the best version of Richmond,” Tyndall said. “Anyone who has lived here long enough knows we aren’t trying to be another city, and I think that’s a great thing.Richmond is an amazing city for riding. It’s relatively flat (believe me, Seattle and Pittsburgh are way steeper!), grid-oriented, compact, and beautiful.”
Though he’s full of Richmond pride, Tyndall still sees other cities as inspiration for bicycle-oriented growth.
“The thing that Portland, Seattle, and the DC Metro Area have on us is decades of incremental build out of a thorough bikeway network,” Tyndall explained. “I’m confident that if we keep plugging away at it, Richmond could see one in four trips made by bike like in downtown Portland. That’s right, 26 percent!”
You can see the entire list of RVA Bike Month events and get more details on them here.