May is one of the best months of the year. The weather is warming, the Earth is full of happy green trees and colorful buds, and it's Bike Month! For the past several years the Des Moines Bike Collective has done an amazing job celebrating weekend trail riders, daily commuters, distance rollers and lovers of all things bikes here in Central Iowa. Here are ten ways you can join in on Bike Month fun!
1. Register for your Virtual Passport. Use your virtual passport to track your bike miles during the month of May and check into Bike Month events to earn points for cool swag! If you've participated in Bike Month before you probably remember the awesome paper passports you can get stamps on--they still have those! The virtual passport is the paper-free option. They've also updated the rules for participating in the Central Iowa Bike Transportation challenge, which you can read about here. In the past you were only able to log bikes miles to and from work, but this year participants are able to track miles to and from the store as well as recreation miles.
2. Attend the Bike Month Preview Party this Friday at the Des Moines Bike Collective to learn more about the organization, shop for a new bike, and get prepped for Bike Month. Bike Month Sponsors will have information on events, food from Tacopocalypse and Confluence Brewing Company will have beverages available.
3. Kick off Bike Month on May 6 at Confluence Brewing. They're tapping the Long Ride Pale Ale keg, a collaboration with Singlespeed Brewing Co., at 5 PM. For every pint purchased between5-8 PM, $1 will be donated to the Des Moines Bike Collective. Gastro Grub will also be serving up some awesome food outside the brewery! Get your friends together and hit the trails for this awesome event.
4. Recognize an awesome cyclist you know. The Des Moines Bike Collective is looking for diehard bike commuters and bike commuters with an interesting story to highlight on their website. Be sure to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to recognize your favorite cyclist. We also encourage you to give them a shout out on Facebook and Instagram and use the #UADSM hashtag!
5. Make it a family outing. There are so many ways to enjoy Bike Month as a family. The Clive Public Library is right off the Greenbelt bike trail and for every day in May you bike to the Library you will be entered into a drawing for a family prize basket. There's even more great family friendly events at the Bike Collective's website.
6. Bike to work! Bike to Work Week is May 16-21, and while any week is a great week to bike to work this one is the best. Have a long commute or a dangerous commute? Try parking and riding part of route. Here's some more tips for biking to work if you've never done it before.
7. Learn about the history of Iowa's bike trails. Did you know that Iowa is a national leader in converting railroads to bike trails? It's a fascinating story, and we can't wait for this great presentation from Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation at Reclaimed Rails in Bondurant. Be sure to attend on May 17 from 5:30-7:00!
8. Ride to the Downtown Farmers' Market. We know you're eager to check out the farmer's market and this is the perfect opportunity! Every Saturday in May the farmers' market will have a free bike valet. Buy a snack, some local produce, and enjoy the great entertainment before riding back home!
9. Challenge yourself. Whether it's 5 miles or 65 miles, try to bike a little farther than you're used to this month. It's a great time to build up your muscles (and butt calluses) before a long summer of riding!
Written by: Ash Bruxvoort