Bike to Work Week, May 16th-20th, is a national effort to get more cyclists on the road and to encourage safe, healthy biking habits. Next week is the perfect time to begin riding to work if you haven’t yet started for the season or are considering it for the first time. You’ll have a slew of fellow cyclists to support you as well as great events, specials, prize giveaways, and free technical assistance to provide an extra “umph” of enthusiasm.
The emphasis on biking “to work” (as opposed to just around town) is intentional, and aims to make a bicycle into your vehicle of choice for daily travel. Biking to work impacts you and the world around you in a major way that can’t be achieved with an occasional weekend ride.
Several area organizations (listed at the end of this article) are working together to promote a community-wide Bike to Work Week effort in Fairbanks. The schedule of events is as follows:
May 16 Bike to Work Day with free tune-ups (compliments of Goldstream Sports) in front of the courthouse on First Avenue from 7-10am
May 18 Breakfast Day with coffee and food specials for cyclists throughout downtown, including Alana’s Espresso Escape, Julia’s Solstice Café, McCafferty’s, and River City Cafe.
May 20 VIP Patrol Day rewarding responsible cyclists with instant prizes.
All week long be sure to sign up at this website if you bike to work so your name will be entered into drawings.
I’ve just recently swapped out my car for a bicycle to begin my summer commute by two wheels. The traffic is fast, furious, and noisy for the first ten miles even with the luxury of a bicycle path. Coasting across the Chena River into the homes, small streets, and maneuverable intersections of downtown makes for a quiet, familiar finish. I feel as if I arrive just as the center of town is rustling itself out of bed.
Downtown is no stranger to cyclists. Each day I notice a half dozen or so (of all shapes, sizes, and choice of ride) from my office window. Earlier this week, I was caught amidst a troupe of boys biking furiously down a residential stretch of Third Avenue. The smallest hunched over and pedaled like mad to stay ahead of the others. Their travel allotment of five blocks from home was a world best explored by bike.
That same day, I caught up to a cyclist on a hill eight miles from the center of town. We started chatting, and I learned her husband works downtown and goes for a bicycle ride every day during his lunch break. She loves to ride to and from work, as well as with a local cycling club.
There’s no better time to test the waters than Bike to Work Week. Check out the Fairbanks Bikeways map to plot your route on cycling-friendly paths and roads.
If you run into problems or see room for improvement, provide comments to the Fairbanks Metropolitan Area Transportation System (FMATS) for the first Non-Motorized Transportation Plan in Fairbanks. It’s really pretty fun (in a geeky urban planning kind of way) to read the submitted comments and see what others have in mind for better pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
Bike to Work Week Fairbanks is brought to you by the Downtown Association of Fairbanks, FMATS, Interior Alaska Green Star, 907group, UAF Outdoor Adventures, Goldstream Sports, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Volunteers in Policing, and the State of Alaska.
See you on the streets!