As the sun is starting to emerge in Carson City, so too are the bicycles.
“I’m already hearing from people that they’re getting their bikes out of the garage,” said Randy Gaa, president of Muscle Powered, the nonprofit organization dedicated to a walkable and bikeable community. “They’re airing up their tires that have been flat from being in storage. Spring is here, and there are all sorts of ways to enjoy it on a bicycle.”
The turn in the weather comes just in time for Muscle Powered’s annual celebration of National Bike Month.
“Bike Month is a concentrated effort to get people out on their bikes,” Gaa said. “We’re really encouraging people to ride not only for recreation but also as an alternative means of transportation to commute to work or run errands.”
The activities kick off Sunday with the annual Tour of Carson, a 30-mile bike ride around the perimeter of Carson City.
The highlight of the month is Bike to Work Week, which runs May 13-17.
“We make it a lighthearted competition,” Gaa said. “People can form teams or participate as an individual and compete for most miles or most trips.”
Winners are awarded a traveling plaque, presented at the Bike and Music Festival, which celebrates the end of Bike to Work Week.
The festival begins 6 p.m. May 17 in McFadden Plaza, featuring live music from Randy and the G-Men.
“Traditionally, it is the best attended event during Bike Month,” Gaa said. “We have live bands, beer vendors, raffles and all kinds of bike games. It’s really cool to see pretty much everybody riding bikes to the party.”
Activities continue throughout the month, with a moonlight bike ride May 18 and the West Side Cruiser ride 6:30 p.m. May 23, beginning at the Brewery Arts Center, 449 W. King St.
“We will usually get more than 100 riders on this ride. We see a lot of eclectic bikes and costumes and all kinds of crazy stuff,” Gaa said. “You don’t have to be a strong athlete to participate. It’s a meandering ride through the west side where there’s very low volume of traffic and no hills. You can be a beginner and still enjoy the ride.”
Group road bicycle rides will be held every Sunday at 9 a.m., beginning at Fremont Elementary School, 1511 Firebox Road.
There will be a ladies’ mountain bike ride at 5:30 p.m. each Tuesday, taking off from Foothill Drive, just off of North Winnie Lane.
“Every single ride Muscle Powered does, we really strive to make sure everybody is included and no one has a bad experience,” Gaa said. “Nobody is left behind.”
The month’s activities will conclude with the celebrity bike ride May 30 where city leaders are taken on a bicycle tour of the city.
For those who may not want to join the official events, Gaa encourages them to still take their bikes out on either paved or dirt trails around the city.
“We’ve had a long, cold, hard winter with a lot of snow,” he said. “We’ve been cooped up all winter. Bike Month is a good time for people to get outside and enjoy the weather.”
For more information or for a complete list of events, go to musclepowered.org.
To register for Bike to Work Week, email firstname.lastname@example.org.