Bike Everywhere Challenge encourages newbies to give it a try

May is Bike Everywhere Month, National Bike Month and Bike to School Month. We’ve had Bike to Work Day and Bike to School Day. And this Friday they finally just cover it all with Bike Everywhere Day.

So this post will be all about light rail.

Kidding.

Earlier this month, I readjusted the kids’ helmets for their growing noggins, pumped up the tires, and we biked and scootered to a local park for our inaugural ride of the season.

My girls think it’s the height of cool that two nearby mayors are participating in a Bike Month Challenge. They’re telling their friends.

Turns out I got inspired, too.

In a fit of sun-induced optimism, I started a Bike Everywhere Challenge team with my colleague Ben Watanabe.

The Bike Everywhere Challenge invites riders to compete on their own or with a team to rack up miles and score prizes. The Challenge emphasizes getting new or infrequent riders to try bicycling more regularly — folks like me.

The ever clever Ben came up with our name, the Colby Cruisers. It’s a nice homage to both Everett and the street on which we work. And I, for one, am definitely more of the cruising type.

We have been able to enlist one other co-worker so far, Janice Podsada. She carries a unicycle in her trunk. She once rode it from Everett to Marysville.

Um, wow.

She offered to bring it out “if you’d like a crack … as in cracked ribs, cracked knees, cracked tailbone.”

Uh, no.

But I was happy to watch her demonstrate, pivoting and speeding along hands-free.

She started at age 10 when her dad found her a unicycle in a Sears bargain basement. “I always say my dad wanted me to run away to the circus,” she quipped. She’s ridden unicycles ever since, even in a Northeast snowstorm. A self-professed “speed demon,” her favorite vest says “Hell On Wheel.”

It only takes about 24 to 40 hours to learn, she notes.

And maybe a visit to the ER.

For now I am enjoying being back on two wheels. I’m reminded of what it’s like to get around on a bike, rather than zooming past things in a car.

The good — such as the variety of flowers in folks’ yards.

The bad — such as a dearth of sidewalk ramps for little wheels.

It’s not too late to form your own team or join an existing one to get your own spark of motivation.

You could just pick your favorite team name. The Grapes of PATH. Chewbikas. On Your Leftists. Cranksta’s. The Bald and The Beautiful. Or, if you’re the honest type, maybe Abstain from Rain. Or you can participate as an individual, too.

There were six other Snohomish County-based teams registered at my last check. They include Feel the Burn, a group of Everett firefighters, and the Fluke SweatOMeters, who are “measuring cycling fun by the gallon.”

In the lead was B4B-Biking for Brews. The team is made up of “mostly old (long time) Boeing bike commuters that enjoy a good beer at the end of our rides.”

Learn more at www.lovetoride.net/washington.

Read more bicycle-themed posts on the Street Smarts blog.

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