Bike to Work Week kicks off

BY CARLY MATTHEW | MAY 04, 2015 5:00 AM

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From group rides to free breakfasts, people interested in delving into the world of commuter cycling can enjoy bike-theme various events all week long.

Bike to Work Week kicked off Sunday with a family ride, one week before the national starting date.
This way, organizers could avoid finals week and better include University of Iowa students, said Anne Duggan, the president of Think Bicycles of Johnson County.

This is the first time the hosts — the cities of Iowa City, Coralville, and University Heights as well as Johnson County, Think Bicycles, and number of local businesses — held the week’s events early.

The number of commuter cyclists in the United States increased from around 490,000 in 2000 to 790,000 in 2008-12, making it the fastest growing means of commuting percentage-wise, according to the U.S. Census American Community Survey Reports.

“I think about half of my group was able to show up because Bike to Work Week was placed before finals,” UIowa Bike Friends Co-President Willy Tan said.

UIowa Bike Friends, a new University of Iowa student organization with around 10 members, was one of the groups that sponsored the Sunday family ride. Though the day was rainy, Tan estimated four families attended the ride.

UIowa Bike Friends members were there to help kids crossing the streets in the two spots where trails weren’t available.

UI junior Tan started the group last semester when he realized there was no group on campus strictly devoted to cycling advocacy — one of the main missions of Bike to Work Week.

“We try to engage people on every level of cycling,” Co-President Andrew Hirst said.

Throughout the week, local cyclists can enjoy daily commuter breakfasts, workshops, and an end of the week party.

“Everything is free — you just have to ride up,” Duggan said.

Riders can also receive also several discounts at local businesses when wearing gear or showing a helmet.

Many of the events, such as the Bike Library’s Wheely Fun Bike Basics class or the full Moon ride, are held regularly.

“This week is about bringing all the parts together,” Duggan said.

One highlight for the week is the Bus/Bike/Car Race, which taken place for about two decades, she said.

On Monday, three local politicians will use these three modes of transportation to race from the Coralville to the Iowa City Public Library.

Participants include City Councilors Jim Throgmorton of Iowa City, Tom Gill of Coralville, and Virginia Miller of University Heights.

Duggan said much of the week’s purpose is to allow people to get comfortable with using cycling as means of transportation, especially for relatively short trips.

“We want to show people you can bike to work and still look like an adult,” Duggan said.

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