What better time to get your bicycle out of storage and tuned up than National Bike Month starting May 1. Led by the League of American Bicyclists, Bike Month is a time to celebrate bicycling and encourage those who do not currently bike to give it a try.
Why “bike there”? Bicycling offers a fun and healthy way to get around. Studies show cycling elevates mood, memory, and metabolism. Cycling also reduces our carbon emissions and overall environmental impacts. All great reasons to get rolling!
Plus, since forty percent of all trips in the U.S. are less than two miles, shifting some of those trips from automobiles to bicycles can have a significant impact. In Grafton County right now (April 2021), more than 3/4 of trips are under 25miles, with the easy majority of those clocking in under 3 miles. We can do that! So, whenever you’re about to hop into your car to travel somewhere a mile or two from home, ask yourself, “Can I bike there instead?” If the answer’s yes, we hope you’ll go for it. Work up to longer distances with Local Motion’s 6 Spring Bike Tips—which include a reminder that it’s ok to get off and walk your bike on steeper hills or harder intersections!
In addition to shifting your trips, you can track your miles on Love to Ride’s website and take some great short courses on getting started. Create your own goals, connect with other bicyclists and perhaps even win a prize. Register today for free to get started: lovetoride.net.
Just after Bike Month, the Annual Lebanon Bike Rodeo will happen on July 8th in conjunction with the Downtown Mall Tunnel grand opening (click link for video!) event in Lebanon. The Bike Rodeo is a free family event where safe cycling is encouraged through helmet distribution, bike registration, group rides, other activities, education and more. Stay tuned for updates.
Also coinciding with the Upper Valley’s sunniest weather is Lebanon’s participation in the UV E-Bike Lending Library this July 4-25. Save the date and plan to try out one or all five electric assist bike models, which will be based at Pat Walsh Park. More information is forthcoming. This is a great chance to give people capacity to bike when they otherwise might not be active and have such a channel to enjoy the outdoors or to travel far on their own. The loans will be free. Event volunteers are still needed, please email us ASAP to get on board with the E-Bike Library! Beyond this in-person opportunity to try the equipment, to learn more about the potential of e-bikes and cargo bikes, we’re hearing great things about the internationally acclaimed film called MOTHERLOAD.
Besides bicycling more this May and through the rest of 2021, take the time to connect with the groups building a more robust cycling culture. Here are some organizations and programs helping to build the local cycling community.
- CommuteSmartNH. Join us in promoting bicycling along with other alternative modes of transportation in our May Commuter Challenge, where you can log your trips and compete against people across the state. Click the link to sign up today! https://commutesmartnh.org/
- Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire. Advocates for bicyclists and pedestrians at the state level. They offer a clearinghouse of information on their website: https://bwanh.org
- The City of Lebanon Pedestrian and Bicyclist Advisory Committee (LPBAC). Promotes communication and exchanging ideas and concerns between users of the City’s bicycle and pedestrian facilities and local officials: https://lebanonnh.gov/573/Ped-Bike-Advisory-Committee
- Vital Communities. Manages the UV Transportation Management Association, among other programs, and offers a great list of bike rides in the UV: https://vitalcommunities.org/blog/favorite-upper-valley-bicycle-rides/
- Friends of the Northern Rail Trail. Promotes and improves the NRT as a four-season multi-use trail. https://fnrt.org/
- NH Rail Trails Coalition. A statewide group with a mission “to promote the development, maintenance and active use of trails constructed on New Hampshire’s railroad corridors: https://nhrtc.org
- Upper Valley Mountain Bike Association. Trail stewards and advocates for improved access to trail networks in the region: https://uvmba.org
- Upper Valley Cycling Club: Promotes safe and enjoyable bicycling in our region. They organize group rides and other events: https://facebook.com/uvcyclingclub/ (also see UV Women’s Cycling Club)
- Upper Valley Trails Alliance. Advocates for the use, maintenance, and development of trails in the region—including the Mascoma River Greenway and its hoped for extension: https://www.uvtrails.org/
- There are also many local bike shops that you can schedule a tune-up or bike fitting at.
We look forward to seeing you on bike in Lebanon!
Note: text copied and adapted with permission from the author Jen Risley via the Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation