It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that every month is bike month in Davis.
This is Davis after all.
But there is most certainly something about May, especially if you’re a kid.
From the annual Loopalooza, which introduces families to the Davis bike loop with activity stations and prizes, to Bike to School parades and contests, there is much fun to be had during May is Bike Month activities.
And new this year: kids who regularly bike to school may emerge from class to find bike fairies have visited the bike racks, tying special prizes to their bikes as a reward for properly locking their bicycles to the bike racks.
Even parents can look forward to special treats for encouraging their children to bike to school.
The fun kicks off on Thursday, May 1, and continues all month long.
Loopalooza is the first big event, taking place Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and once again organizers expect hundreds of Davis children and their parents to participate in a day of fun and exercise.
Stations set up along the city’s 12-mile bike loop and staffed by various community and school organizations will feature snacks, drinks, games, activities, bike safety checks, helmet fittings and much more.
Organizers note that the bike loop provides a safe route to seven of the city’s nine elementary schools; cycling the loop with parents will give children an opportunity to learn how to safely navigate getting to school.
The Davis Bicycles! schools committee has been organizing Loopalooza every May since 2010. That inaugural event attracted 173 young cyclists and their families and 61 of those youths completed the entire 12-mile loop that day. The numbers have grown ever since.
To learn more about Loopalooza, “Like” the Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Davis-Bicycles-Kids/437619076316712 or visit http://www.davisbicycles.org.
A few days later comes Bike to School Day, on Wednesday, May 7.
A nationwide event, Bike to School Day is organized by the National Center for Safe Routes to School, in partnership with the League of American Bicyclists, with the goal of getting communities across the country to ditch their cars and bike to school on the same day.
In Davis, a root beer float party sponsored by Whole Foods on Wednesday, May 28, awaits the school with the highest participation. All schools that use the Active4.me scan-and-notify system will be entered in the contest, with total number of kids scanning in on May 7 determining which school wins the party.
The Active4.me system allows children to scan a barcoded tag when they arrive at school each day. A computer tallies the scans and miles logged and an email or text message is sent to parents alerting them their child has arrived at school.
Currently Birch Lane, César Chávez, Korematsu, Montgomery, North Davis, Patwin and Willett elementary schools participate in the Active4.me program. Schools not yet participating that want to, should contact Tim Starback at [email protected]
Learn more about the system at http://www.active4.me.
Schools that don’t participate in Active4.me won’t be left out of the fun on May 7. A separate contest, now in its third year, will involve counting bikes in the bike racks at all schools. The elementary school and junior high school with the highest percentage of riders, including both students and staff, will receive the golden wheel trophy. Patwin and Holmes Junior High School have taken home the trophy each of the last two years.
Meanwhile, all month long the May is Bike Month “Bike Fairies” will be visiting schools, secretly leaving goodies on bikes that are properly locked up while their owners are in class. Responsible students will emerge to find Yoloberry gift cards, bike lights, bike bells, t-shirts, reflectors, and more, attached to their bikes.
And parents won’t be left out of the fun either.
Since student behavior is most likely to be modified with the support of parents and caregivers, incentives and encouragement rewards will be given to parent volunteers who run the scanning programs at local schools and prizes will be awarded to new and continuing families.
Here’s how it will work:
All new families registering to participate in the Active4.me scanning program for May is Bike Month will be eligible to win a $50 Davis Downtown gift card.
All participants riding and scanning in using Active4.me during the month of May will be entered (once for every scan) into a drawing each week to win a $25 Davis Downtown gift card. That’s one prize each week at all participating schools.
Finally, the last week in May, two families will be randomly selected as the winners of the grand prize and each will receive a $100 Davis Downtown gift card.
But families must be registered with Active4.me and scan in at school to be entered into the drawing. The more you ride and scan in, the better your chances of winning.
Other activities that will take place throughout the month include helmet fittings and decorating at all schools, as well as bike rodeos at some sites and smart cycling classes at Birch Lane and Montgomery that are open to all students.
The smart cycling classes, sponsored by the city of Davis, are for third- through sixth-graders and include instruction on smart and safe cycling techniques and etiquette. Participants will use their new knowledge to explore Davis via the city’s extensive bike trails and residential streets.
The four-week program will be offered on Tuesdays beginning May 6 at Birch Lane Elementary School, 1600 Birch Lane; and on Thursdays beginning May 8 at Montgomery Elementary School, 1441 Danbury St. The classes run from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. and cost $40. Participants need to provide their own bikes and helmets.
For more information or to sign up, visit http://www.cityofdavis.org and search winter/spring recreation guide, or call 530-757-5626. Registration is also taken in person at the city’s Community Services Department at 600 A St., Suite C.
Finally, the entire community is encouraged to look at the Safe Routes to School Walk and Bike Audit results and draft maps, available at http://www.saferoutesdavis.org.
And adults looking to participate in May is Bike Month activities should check out the calendar of public events at http://bicycles.cityofdavis.org/may-is-bike-month.
— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at [email protected] or 530-747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy.