A handlebar view of Bike Month4/30/2014
“This summer is going to be different; this summer I’m going to start riding my bike.” You know it’s spring when thoughts like those start teasing at the brain stem. But it’s tough getting started into any new routine, especially one that requires so much physical determination. Bike-riding, though, is famously known as that easy, leisurely activity that one never forgets how to do, the benefits of which are obvious. But actually keeping on top of the commitment can prove to be difficult.
There’s no better time than now to change that with the help of hundreds of potential new friends and mentors, as central Iowans recognize Bike Month.
Scott Sumpter and Angie McBride started this tradition back in 2003 with Bike to Work Day, according to Carl Voss, one of the founders of the Des Moines Bicycle Collective. It evolved into a week-long celebration the following year. Then, in 2010, Central Iowa Bike Month was inaugurated.
Now it’s less of a question of motivation and more of where to begin. There is something for everyone nearly every day of the month. In fact, according to the calendar of events, three days is the most one will wait for the next event. Nine happen in the first six days alone.
“One of my favorite events is the ‘Coolest Bike Contest’ (May 3) this year also featuring a Bicycle Swap Meet at Principal Park,” said Kent Newman, Des Moines Bicycle Collective co-founder.
More than 20 competitive categories offer medals for winners and traveling trophies for Peoples’ Choice awards, he said.
Competition not your thing? How about getting a little bike education? Gears and Beers (May 4) is a social ride that starts out at the Des Moines Bicycle Collective, where participants learn maintenance tips to keep both wheels rolling in lieu of carousing bars such as, el Bait Shop, Mullet’s, Hessen House, Royal Mile and the Library Café and Bar.
Wheels and Heels (May 6), offers a ladies-only option and draws a wide variety of women, from the competitive athlete to the moms wheeling around with the kids.
“(My favorite is) the PedalArt poster show (May 16), which draws one of the largest crowds of the month,” Voss said. “Also the Bike to Art (May 18) is a fabulous family-friendly ride that stops at several downtown high points for architecture and public art at an easy pace.
“Des Moines looks best behind handlebars!” CV
David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Thursday, May 1 — Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation Trails App Launch at Principal Riverwalk Hub Spot, 4:30-8:30 p.m.
Friday, May 2 — Handlebar Happy Hour at Angelo’s on Eighth Street, West Des Moines, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 3 — Eighth Annual Coolest Bike in Town and Bike Swap at Principal Park Concourse, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Bike to Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market; Family Fun Ride in Urbandale, 8 a.m.; Greater Des Moines Volksport Ride at Gray’s Lake, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sunday, May 4 — Gears and Beers at Des Moines Bicycle Collective, 12-4 p.m.; Community Bike Picnic at The Levee, 100 Court Ave., 4-7 p.m.
Tuesday, May 6 — Fifth Annual Wheels and Heels at Windsor Heights Community Center, 5:30-8 p.m.
Check out www.bikemonthiowa.com/events for more information.