By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
The city of Bowling Green is planning monthly bike rides to encourage residents to leave behind their four-wheel transportation for the two-wheeled option.
The first “slow roll” bike ride will be held Sunday, June 24, starting at 2 p.m. It will begin and end at the Girl Scout Building located in City Park.
“We want to get residents to feel more comfortable riding their bikes – especially families,” said Amanda Gamby, the city’s sustainability coordinator.
The goal is to make biking second nature for local citizens.
“Let’s say you want to get ice cream,” Gamby said. “Instead of piling into a car for the one-mile trip, they can hop on their bikes.”
To make the monthly free rides more appealing, the city is giving each one a theme. This first ride titled, Just Chillin’, will include a stop at the Black Swamp Preserve for a brief presentation from naturalist Cinda Stutzman on how animals stay cool in the heat, and an additional stop for ice cream, provided by the Sundae Station. All participants will also receive a free day pass to the City Pool after completion of the ride.
“We want to entice people who may be on the fence,” about riding bikes in town, Gamby said. “Each month will have a different theme. We’re excited about it.”
The route for this ride covers five miles, with the longest distance between stops being 1.5 miles. It is recommended that young riders, not able to travel these distances on their own, participate via a tow behind trailer or child bike seat. These rides are meant to be more recreational in nature and will travel at a speed comfortable for all riders.
In addition to the goal of being enjoyable, the monthly rides will also stress the importance of safe riding practices and responsibilities of riders while navigating city streets. Multiple trained leaders will model safe biking behavior, such as proper hand signaling and lane positioning.
Gamby is hoping the rides make residents more comfortable on city streets, and make bicyclists aware of the routes that may work best for them.
“We want people to know they can safely bike in Bowling Green and have fun,” she said.
Additional monthly rides are planned for July through October and will take place on the last Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. Future rides will include such themes as pizza, story books and Halloween.
The rides are modeled after the Yay Bikes program called “Year of Yay,” which hosts monthly rides all year long.
“We haven’t decided if we’ll be that brave yet,” to hold winter rides, Gamby said.
Each rider is required to wear a properly-fitted helmet and ride a correctly-sized bicycle in safe, working mechanical order.
“We are going to be pretty strict about it,” Gamby said about the helmet requirement. Anyone needing a helmet may call Gamby at 419-354-6222.
To register for monthly rides, visit www.bgohio.org and follow the Bike BG link provided on the home page or call 419-354-6222.