Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bike to Work Week 2016

Monday, May 16
The Cedar Rapids area got an early start on Bike to Work Week when Cedar Rapids City Council member Ann Poe (above) read the official proclamation shortly after 7 a.m. to about three dozen cyclists gathered outside Red's Public House.

The early morning crowd gathers outside the historic downtown building
Enjoying free coffee, courtesy of Red's
Council member Poe signing the official proclamation in the morning breeze
We celebrated the proclamation with a ride up 3rd and Grande Avenues as far as 19th Street.
3rd Avenue and 5th Street
The approximately 4 mile round trip included three types of bike lanes--protected, buffered and regular (pictured above)--as well as streets of various lanes and widths. Streets like 19th pose the biggest challenge to bicycle commuting: an arterial with narrow lanes and parking on both sides. As our group turned south, another cyclist was coming north trailing a few cars. Is there a solution, or is this even a problem?

The riders returned to Red's, which in addition to the celebratory free coffee was offering breakfast burritos for $5. All riders received a bag containing this swag:

Late in the afternoon, Sag Wagon Deli and Brew hosted a Handlebar Happy Hour.

Sag Wagon not only is located on the Cedar River Trail adjacent to Cedar Lake, it has bicycle seat shaped bar stools.

At 5:00 the event was not particularly well-attended...

...but there was a ring toss game with prizes. It took me ten tosses to get one, but mission accomplished.

Tuesday, May 17
This is the first of two days this week that the cyclists can make pit stops. There's a new location this year, in addition to the traditional spot on the Cedar River Trail where it crosses 1st Avenue. Red Ball Printing in New Bohemia is hosting pit stops this year as well. Tuesday afternoon city planner Hillary Hershner was staffing it, offering snacks, handouts, and (to anyone who missed it yesterday) swag.

There was a contraption on which you could mount your bike for inspection. I put my bike on it for photography purposes, but to my surprise Tony Burnett from Red Ball came out and adjusted my brakes.

All of a sudden I had new stopping power! thanks to stopping at the bicycle pit stop (and to Tony Burnett).

Ron Griffith was staffing the 1st Avenue stop...
...with folk from Hall Bicyle Company handing out t-shirts.

Wednesday, May 18
The mayor's back from China, and bike-to-workers (bikers-to-work?) met at City Hall to ride to lunch with him. When you ride with the mayor, it's a media event!

When Mayor Ron Corbett arrived, he was resplendent in his official Bike-to-Work Week t-shirt:

We rode about a mile and a half on a combination of streets and trails to lunch at Kickstand in New Bohemia.

The crowd arrives...

I didn't stay for lunch, though, having a previous commitment (that involved a free lunch). It was 2.4 miles away; my route there took me through downtown but it was nearly all by trails. Had I needed to use city streets the trip would have been grueling and trafficky. The gradual development of trails in our town has made bicycle commuting more feasible for more people.

Stats from Wednesday:
  • Number of intersections where I was stopped opposite a car turning left: 2
  • Number of intersections where the car turning left yielded to the bike going straight: 0
[Several prior commitments kept me from the remainder of the mid-week events, which included a ride of silence Wednesday night in memory of those killed in bicycling accidents; morning and evening pit stops on Thursday; and a kids' ride Thursday evening. Which brings us to...]

Friday, May 20
Today is National Bike to Work Day, but for logistical reasons I drove to work. So I drove home and rode back to the National Czech and Slovak Museum for the commemorative picture. We arrived amidst the hoopla of Houby Days...
...but wended our way through the crowds to the picture site, and got ourselves and our bikes suitably arranged. (The official picture will soon show up on the Bike CR site.)
Then it was back through the crowds to Lion Bridge Brewing Company, where there were draft beer specials on their patio.
Transportation planner Hillary Hershner managed the prize drawings.
I came away with the Hall Bicycle t-shirt you can almost see in the lower right corner of the picture. So I wasn't skunked like last time, and rode home with triumph as well as joy in my heart. Here's to Bike-to-Work Week!

B.A. Morelli, "Bike Boulevards, Protected Bike Lanes, Supersharrows: Lingo of BIke-Friendly Cities," Cedar Rapids Gazette, 19 May 2016, 1A, 7A,
Aimee Curtis, "Friday is Bike to Work Day. Here's Where to Find a Pit Stop," Greater Greater Washington, 18 May 2016,

"Cycling Update," 24 May 2015,
"Bike to Work Week Diary," 13 May 2014,

No comments:

Post a Comment

What is the future of Iowa's small towns?

Former Audubon County courthouse, Exira (Source: Wikimedia): county population has fallen from 8559 (1980) to 5578 (2017) A recent colum...