Carson City’s Muscle Powered, a bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization, is joining the nationwide Bike Month celebration during May.
“There are a ton of reasons cycling is beneficial,” said Randy Gaa, secretary of Muscle Powered. “There are obvious health benefits and it’s good for the environment. It’s good for the community as well. Communities that have well-established bike lanes and active cyclists tend to thrive more than communities that don’t.”
The monthlong activities will kick off 11 a.m. Tuesday in McFadden Plaza with the Celebrity Bike Ride, which will include elected officials, state and local leaders as well as business owners.
“It exposes community leaders to what cyclists experience on a daily basis,” Gaa said. “It also raises awareness as we ride through the community. It gives cyclists in general more exposure.”
Activities are planned throughout the month, including the West Side Cruiser Ride meeting 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Brewery Arts Center.
“It’s a fun, eclectic collection of bicycles,” Gaa said. “We encourage people to dress up in costumes. It’s an easy ride with a party atmosphere. It’s very family friendly.”
One of the most popular rides is the Tour of Carson City, which will be 9 a.m. May 7. Typically, the ride, organized by Bike Habitat owner Denis Coyne, kicks off at his shop. However, it has outgrown that venue and will begin and end this year at Fuji Park.
It’s moderately paced, 27- to 30-mile ride around the circumference of the city.
“It’s not a race, it’s just a casual ride with a popsicle stand at the halfway point,” Gaa explained.
Other featured rides include a moonlight ride, sponsored by the Bike Smith, 7:30 p.m. May 10 starting at Foothill Drive. Every Tuesday during the month and continuing throughout the summer, a women’s bike ride will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Foothill Drive. The Ride of Silence will be May 17 to honor cyclists killed while sharing the road.
“People see us riding, and they know cyclists are out there,” Gaa said. “They see we have as much right to be in the travel lane as they do.”
The highlight of the month will be the Corporate Challenge during Bike to Work Week on May 15-19 where business and agencies compete for most miles and trips via bicycle.
The week culminates with Bike to Work Day on May 19 where local coffee shops — Carson Coffee, Comma Coffee, L.A. Bakery and Dutch Bros. — will offer free coffee to commuters who are wearing helmets.
It will end with a party 6 p.m. in McFadden Plaza with games, raffle prizes and entertainment.
Joel Dunn, executive director of the Carson City Visitors Bureau, said these cycling events help establish Carson City as a recreation destination.
“The cycling culture Carson City is creating is not only good for those of us who call the city home, but is also a driving factor in bringing in tourists,” Dunn said. “We appreciate all that Muscle Powered does to help create a community people want to visit.”
Gaa said the city’s designation as a Bike Friendly City by the League of American Bicyclists is a draw for many.
“I know a lot of cyclists look for that designation when planning to travel,” he said.
Gaa’s motivations are simple.
“The reason I ride a bike is because I like it,” he said. “It’s fun.”
For a complete list of Bike Month events or to sign up for the Corporate Challenge, go to musclepowered.org under the Resources tab.