Bike to Work, Bike to Play, Bike Tomorrow, Bike Today!
on Monday, May 1, 2017
(photo courtesy Cedar Valley Cyclists)
Birds are singing, frogs are ribbiting, the sun is shining, and the grass is greener. What does this mean? Spring is here and summer is getting closer. It is time to pull out that bicycle, grease the chain, pump up the tires and hit the trails. May is Bike Month and Cedar Falls is participating by providing various events throughout the month.
WHAT IS BIKE MONTH?
The League of American Bicyclists sponsors Bike Month and it is observed by many communities from coast to coast. National Bike Month was established in 1956, and is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling and encourage people to try biking.
The League defines National Bike Month as “an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons people ride.”
Many organizations plan special events for Bike Month in the Cedar Valley.
IS CEDAR FALLS BIKE FRIENDLY?
A large number of visitors are drawn to the Cedar Valley area because of the wonderful trails! In 2009, Cedar Falls was awarded the Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community Award by the League of American Bicyclists. We are proud to be Iowa’s first community to earn this award. With that, I believe Cedar Falls is a bike friendly community.
A Bicycle-Friendly Community provides safe accommodation for cycling and encourages its residents to bike for transportation and recreation.
Since the award, Cedar Falls has installed additional bike lanes and multi-use trails. New wayfinding signage throughout the Cedar Valley helps cyclists navigate this extensive network. The signage, installed in 2016, was made possible by Principal Financial and INRCOG (Iowa Northland Regional Council of Government).
Our community also implemented sharrow and "May Use Full Lane" signage, allowing bicyclists and motorists to share the road. Search for bicyclist signage in our area!
Cedar Falls continues to maintain a bicycle friendly status by support from various groups especially the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. The committee’s mission is to improve the quality of life in Cedar Falls through the increased opportunity for safe walking and bicycling as viable means of transportation and physical activity. Learn more at CedarFalls.com. Other local organizations that support bicycling are Cedar Trails Partnership, Cedar Valley Cyclists, Cedar Valley Bicycle Collective, and the Cedar Valley Association for Soft Trails (CVAST).
(Bike to the Cedar Falls Farmers' Market)
IS BIKING HEALTHY FOR YOU?
Of course! I’d like to point out the motives bicyclists have for biking in the Cedar Valley: transportation, recreation, fitness, relaxation, adventure, socializing, convenience, exercise, environmental sustainability, save money, and because it’s FUN!
After seeing this list it is clear to see bicycling can provide more than physical health benefits.
An article in the Harvard Health Publications from Harvard Medical School explains reasoning for bicycling as a healthy lifestyle choice. Five main benefits are discussed the first stating bicycling is easy on the joints. While biking, the weight of your body sits on the bones in the pelvis; whereas, walking puts weight on the legs. Second, pushing pedals provides an aerobic workout. This works the brain, heart, and blood vessels releasing endorphins which are the feel-good chemicals in your body. Third, bicycling builds muscle. During the down stroke of pedaling, muscles in the thighs, calves, and buttock are strengthened. Steering builds arm muscles and balancing the bike works the abdominal muscles. Fourth, bicycling helps with everyday activities such as walking, standing, and balance. Lastly pedaling builds bone. This may sound odd, but Dr. Safran Norton explains “Resistance activities, such as pushing pedals, pull on the muscles, and then the muscles pull on the bone, which increases bone density.”
WHAT EVENTS ARE HAPPENING LOCALLY?
Bike to School Day
Bike to Work Week
During Bike to Work week prizes will be awarded to lucky cyclists who post on the Cedar Valley Bike to Work Facebook page. Many thanks to Europa Cycle and Ski, Waterloo Bicycle Works, BikeTech, Cedar Valley Cyclists, and Cedar Valley Bicycle Collective who have generously donated prizes.
7th Annual Ride of Silence
Meet at 4th and Main Streets in Cedar Falls. Registration begins at 6:00pm and the ride at 6:30pm. The ride is in memory of bicyclists who are no longer with us. It will be about 8 miles at a slow pace suitable for families and it will be ridden in silence.
Bike to Work Day
To learn of more Bike Month events visit www.facebook.com/CedarValleyBiketoWork
Would you like more information about Cedar Falls? The Cedar Falls Visitor Center has information about Things to Do, Places to Stay and Places to Eat & Drink. Stop in and see us at 6510 Hudson Road or give us a call at 319-268-4266 or 800-845-1955.
We'd like to thank Janelle Brehm for her guest blog about Bike Month.