Hooray, May is National Bike Month! In the United States, at least. Canada, you have to wait until June. And Colorado, you’re June as well. What’s that, Arizonans? You already celebrated Bike Month in April? This is starting to get a little confusing.
You would think that if the United Nations officially declared June 3 as World Bicycle Day (as it did in 2018) that would be good enough for everybody. But no, there’s also World Cycling Day on August 11 (anniversary of the first World Cycling Championships in 1893).
Thank goodness everyone celebrates National Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 19. Well, except California, of course, which has historically chosen a Thursday for their celebration so there was no confusion with casual Fridays (when that was a thing). And Phoenix, where Bike to Work Day was on Wednesday, April 19. And Denver, which holds one of the nation’s biggest Bike to Work Day events, but not until June 28 (although February 10 was winter bike to work day, for those who just couldn’t wait).*
My two takeaways from this confusing mix of competing and complementary celebrations of bicycling?
First, this is a difficult constituency to organize! There’s something about the freedom and independence of riding a bike that attracts, um, individuals.
Second, there’s a great reason to celebrate riding a bike whenever! I don’t want to be “that guy” that refuses to acknowledge National Bike Month because “every month is bike month”; I have always embraced the event and can’t wait to join in as many local bike month events in Richmond as I can this year. And the truth is, there really are so many reasons to highlight the individual and collective benefits of simply riding a bike.
As you may have read elsewhere, our staff are diving into some big topics as we look ahead to the next 20 years of Toole Design – how we expand transit and new mobility; how we stop gentrification and displacement; and how we implement the climate strategies we already have available to us. Part of the answer to those questions is simple: ride a bike more often. Whether it’s health, climate, community development, equity, safety, transportation, or any other policy issue you are grappling with, I guarantee part of the answer is going to be getting more people riding a bike more often!
Go on, celebrate the simple pleasure of a bike ride.
* Importantly, there’s also the annual Ride of Silence on May 17 is marking its 21st anniversary this year. This powerful event honors people killed or seriously injured while riding a bike. It’s a silent tribute and appropriate celebration of the lives of people we’ve lost along the way.