Teri Vance: Bike week concludes with party
Music and laughter wafted along the warm summer breeze Friday evening during Muscle Powered’s annual End of Bike Week Party. A live band played as contestants competed in events like tricycle obstacle courses and a newspaper toss.
The atmosphere at McFadden Plaza was in stark contrast to earlier this week when about 20 riders joined in the Ride of Silence, a national initiative to pay respects to cyclists killed or injured while sharing the road.
“Everything else during Bike Month is very happy, a celebration of cycling culture,” said Randy Gaa, secretary of Muscle Powered, the nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a more walkable and bikeable community. “The Ride of Silence is the one event that is really somber.”
The cyclists were accompanied by two motorcyclists from the Carson City Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s almost an eerie feeling as you ride along,” Gaa said. “It’s really quiet, and all you hear is the traffic and the sounds of bicycles rolling along.”
While the ride is designed to recognize fallen cyclists, Gaa said it also serves as a reminder to motorists to be aware of bicycles on the road.
“We want to draw attention to the fact that cyclists are legitimate road users, just as legitimate as a motor vehicle,” he said. “We have a right to use the road. We’re not here to take over, we just want to share the road.”
Muscle Powered member Shane Trotter put that to the test this week as he rode his bike 160 miles along Highway 50 en route to Elko to his graduation ceremony from Great Basin College where he earned a degree in surveying.
“He got held up by snow on the summit going into Austin,” reported Kelly Clark, Muscle Powered president. “But he made it. I got a text from him in Elko.”
Albeit in a considerably less dramatic fashion, dozens of Carson City residents joined in the Bike to Work Week Corporate Challenge.
Among them was Carson City’s new Fire Chief Sean Slamon.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I think more folks should do it. You feel better when you get to work, and you feel better when you get home.”
He said he was impressed with the city’s bikeability.
“The bike lanes are great, the roads are in great condition, and the motorists seem to be very aware and friendly,” he said.
Jason Gardner rode his bike this week to his job at the Nevada Department of Transportation. However, it wasn’t out of the normal as he rides his bike every day.
“When I get up in the morning and bike to work, I feel better when I get there,” he said. “It’s a better way to start your day than sitting in traffic. You’re breathing fresh air. It takes you back to when you were a kid.”
He also rides home on his lunch break to let out his dog, Moxie, who he takes mountain biking in the evenings.
“He’s a biking badass,” his girlfriend, Jamie Sweet, concluded.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at email@example.com.