MHK’s Bike Month to provide bicycle-friendly events throughout May

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Parker Robb | The Collegian Jianting Huang, first year Ph.D. student in mathematics, cruises across campus on his bike Wednesday evening. The City of Manhattan is celebrating its fifth-annual Bike Month this May.

The month of May will be a month of healthy choices, cheaper commuting, making friends and friendly competition as Manhattan celebrates Bike Month MHK.

The city will be hosting a number of events and informational campaigns throughout the month geared toward bicycle enthusiasts, families and people who are just getting started.

“This is the fifth year we’ve done some kind of Bike Week or Bike Month … last year was the first (official) time for Bike Month” Joey Lightner, bicycle coordinator for the City of Manhattan, said. “Every year it’s grown.”

Some of the events are for more advanced cyclists, such as Bike to the Kansas Sampler on May 3, a 32-mile round trip between Manhattan and Wamego that includes a stop at the Kansas Sampler Festival. Other events are good for people of all ages and level of bicycling skill, like the Mayor’s Ride on May 24, which includes a leisurely-paced ride around Manhattan and refreshments afterward.

There will be two events specifically for women. Big Poppi Bicycle Co. will be hosting a Women’s Ride and Repair Clinic on May 16 to teach some basic repair and maintenance, such as changing a tire, to help women feel more confident on the road. On May 20, the Ladies Purple Pedal Power will provide a healthy girls-night-out event with cycling and snacks.

“There’s a whole bunch of bike-related things to do in the community and I think people should take advantage of that,” Lightner said.

Lightner said his personal favorite was the monthlong Commuter Challenge, where groups and organizations can sign up as teams to track the number of trips they make on bicycles each day or week, as well as the number of miles traveled. The winners get a trophy and special recognition at the Progressive Dinner on May 30.

“It gives people a little bit of competitive spirit,” Lightner said.

Last year’s winner was the Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan, who is also participating this year.

Lightner said the Bicycle Advisory Committee has been working with the city and other groups to encourage more bicycle usage in Manhattan. The number of trips made in Manhattan by bicycle have gone up from 1.3 percent to 1.6 percent in the four years since Lightner joined the initiative. Walking has also increased by two percent in the last four years and now represents 13 percent of all trips in the city.

Using a bicycle instead of driving a car provides exercise, promotes health and saves money on gas.

Visit bikemonthmhk.com for a calendar of all events throughout the month of May. Any questions about events or registration for the Commuter Challenge can be addressed to Joey Lightner at lightner@cityofmhk.com.

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