Start pedaling: May is National Bike Month

Earn a chance at a $50 Princeton Chamber gift card during Bike to Work Week May 17-23

National Bike Month is so much more than 31 days in May.

It’s a celebration of bikes; an impetus to get rolling again; a gateway to riding more often; a time to evangelize the beauty of bikes; and much more.

Since 1956, May has been recognized as National Bike Month celebrating cycling for decades as a means to advance the movement to build a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. This year, the city of Princeton will officially recognize National Bike to Work Week often cited as the month’s flagship event during the third week, May 17-23.

With growing cultural awareness around health and wellness, sustainability and economic savings, bicycling is being seen by new and broader audiences as a simple solution to many complex problems, from reducing obesity rates to increasing mobility. In order to have a safe and enjoyable experience on your bike, bicyclists should observe the following guidelines:

• Follow the law: You have the same rights and duties as drivers. Obey traffic signals and stop signs. Ride with traffic; use the rightmost lane headed in the direction you are going.

• Be predictable: Make your intentions clear to everyone on the road. Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars. Use signal turns and check behind you well before turning or changing lanes.

• Be conspicuous: Ride where people can see you and wear bright clothing. Use a front white light, red rear light and reflectors. Make eye contact with others and don’t ride on sidewalks where posted.

• Think ahead: Anticipate what drivers, pedestrians and other bicyclists will do next. Watch for turning vehicles and ride outside the door zone of parked cars. Watch for debris, potholes and road hazards.

• Ride ready and remember the ABC rule: Check that your tires have sufficient Air, Brakes are working, Chain runs smoothly and quick release levers are closed.

One of the local events held to encourage participation in Bike to Work Week (May 17-23) involves a cooperative effort with the Princeton Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission, the Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce and Perry Memorial Hospital. Anyone who rides their bike to work during this week can take a ride photo, post it on Facebook and tag @PerryHospital or @PrincetonILChamber. One randomly selected rider will receive a $50 Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce gift certificate.

In addition, the Princeton Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission will be promoting a local leisure Monday Night Ride leaving from the Bureau County Metro Center parking lot at 5:30 p.m. Approximately 10 miles, this ride will be ridden at a social pace and is intended to reach the beginner-level rider. Social distancing and health safety protocols will be observed throughout the ride. The initial Monday Night Leisure Ride is set for May 10 and will continue each Monday into the fall as weather permits. All are welcome to attend and a bike helmet should be worn throughout the ride.