Dust off your bike, inflate those tubes and get moving.
If you didn’t have a reason to start pedaling before, now is the time. To celebrate National Bike Month, the folks at I Bike Fresno are giving out a prize every day in May to promote the club’s Million Mile Challenge. Riders register at the I Bike Fresno website to get involved.
“You set a goal for yourself, whatever amount, and ride to that goal,” says Byron Watkins, the founder of I Bike Fresno. “Every time you ride a mile, plug it in and it counts up to your goal. And every day you ride at least one mile, you’re entered into that day’s drawing.”
Daily drawings have prizes worth $100 or more, including Fresno Grizzlies tickets, bike accessories, gift cards and more.
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There’s also several grand prizes that will be given away at the end of the month, including a new commuter bike from Rubber Soul Bicycles.
As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, Fresno-area cyclists had logged nearly 29,500 miles. That, of course, means there’s 970,500 miles to go with 25 days remaining.
Truth told, I Bike Fresno has a much simpler ambition this month.
“Our goal is always to take you to a new relationship with your bicycle,” Watkins said. “If you haven’t been on your bike in years, could I get you to ride around the block or to the corner store? Maybe you ride long distances and are a racer and don’t use it to go to the store. Maybe I can get you to do that?”
According to a 2009 study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 40% of all trips are two miles or less and 60% are one mile or less.
That’s definitely not far in a car, but also not far on a bike.
“It’s pretty common to go down to the grocery store. Everybody has a CVS or a Rite Aid at the end of their block, you know. I believe everyone in Fresno is five miles from a Target,” Watkins said.
“The idea that you could ride your bike to these stores becomes much easier when they are close.”
Whatever the reason, be it to save money (gas, car payments, repairs, insurance, etc.), exercise or to help the environment, riders are encouraged to get on a bike.
“It’s something that can change your life,” Watkins said. “And I think if people can get over those excuses of it being too hard or too hot, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for something that’s really fun in your life and Bike Month is a great time to do that.”
Others including local riding clubs, bike shops and the Fresno County Bicycle Coalition are helping spin gears for National Bike Month.
More than 200 cyclists including some recognizable faces — Fresno Grizzlies mascot Parker and a handful of local government leaders — took part in the 14th annual Mall-to-Mall Ride on Wednesday morning.
Starting at Manchester Center, bike riders were escorted by Fresno police down Blackstone Avenue, through downtown and into the Fulton Mall, ending at Mariposa Plaza where they enjoyed free goodies at the Little Bean Cafe.
Steve Loeffler, 62, of Selma, made the early morning drive to Fresno with his bike to enjoy the 3.5-mile ride on the cool morning. He added some flair, donning a Batman shirt, utility belt and cape.
“I hadn’t been out on the bike because of work and thought it was a good way to kick in the season,” he said. “It’s active, but relaxing.”
“Anything to get out of my work clothes,” he added with a sly grin.