The special day in May was part of National Bike Month, which includes National Bike Day, celebrated nationwide on May 17, and on May 16 in San Diego.
“It’s like the holiday season for us,” said Andy Hanshaw, executive director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. “National Bike Month grew from Bike To Work Day and Bike to School Day came as part of bike month. It’s just an organic way for a lot of different organizations concerned with bicycle safety and advocacy that ties everything together.”
Bike to Work Day was originated by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956 to increase public interest in biking and promote it as an alternative for commuting to work.
The 29th Annual SANDAG Bike to Work Day May 16 was organized by the SANDAG iCommute program. It offered 100 pit stops where cyclists could stop for tune-ups and to pick up free T-shirts, snacks and receive encouragement.
There were a couple of pit stops in Pacific Beach, including one at Pacific Beach Taylor Branch Library. As part of outreach to employers during Bike Month, iCommute offers free bike safety checks, bike safety classes, and guided rides to show groups of employees safe routes to commute to work. For more information visit icommutesd.com.
Katie Matchett of PB participated in the May 8 Walk, Bike, and Roll, sponsored for the second year by beautifulPB, a volunteer public nonprofit promoting environmental and economic sustainability.
“We had everybody not only bicycling but walking to school, anything besides being driven,” said Matchett. “The idea was to get kids, as well as parents, teachers and staff, excited about alternative travel modes such as bicycling, walking and scootering.”
Community volunteers handed out prizes and snacks the morning of May 8 as kids arrived at school, said Matchett, noting, “Later that day some of the schools held special events (bike rodeos at Sessions, a walk safety assembly at St. Paul’s). Barnard also held a bike safety assembly on May 10 with the SD Bike Coalition.”
Local businesses donating prizes to the event included PB Bike Garage, Pacific Beach Bikes, Kono’s, Broken Yolk Cafe and Mr. Frostie.
“We had lots of donations and prizes from local bike shops and from Mr. Frostie and some local real estate offices,” added Matchett. “Most of the schools did raffles to give away stuff, everything from bikes to push scooters, stuff for kids to excel out there.”
Hanshaw said bike to school and bike to work days deliver a “bigger message about promoting active living and safe commuting.” He added promoting active movement while implementing safe streets and infrastructure “encourages more kids to ride bikes to school. It’s about our climate, our future. It’s the quality of life.”
Pointing out bicycling is a year-round activity in San Diego, Hanshaw said, “We want to encourage people to bike more often as a means to get around, not just in May.”