Biking is all the rage in Park City in the summer thanks to our fantastic and expansive trail system. But we still have a long way to go before Parkites uses their bikes for more than recreation like people living in places like Denmark, where 20 percent of all school and work commutes are done on a bike. This month, however, we'll all get the chance to hop on our two wheels and be part of National Bike Month. Initially established by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956, National Bike Month is now celebrated in hundreds of cities from coast to coast, including right here in Park City. As part of the efforts by City Council to encourage the use of alternative transportation modes, Park City will again be participating in Bike and Bicycle Safety Month in May. During the month, the city is partnering with a number of different local organizations and businesses to promote cycling and bike safety for riders of all ages and skill levels through a variety of events.
One of the best ways you can participate is by swapping your car for your bike the week of May 15-19 designated by Mayor Jack Thomas as Bike to Work (or School) Week. The benefits to our rapidly growing small town are obvious if you've ever experienced peak traffic hours here, something the city council and Mayor are keenly aware of. “Promoting biking as a safe and convenient commuting option ties directly into two of our three critical priorities: energy and transportation,” said Park City Mayor Jack Thomas. “We hope Bike and Bicycle Safety Month will encourage everyone to bike to their jobs, school, and leisure activities. Changing your behavior—even one day a week—can have a huge positive impact on our environment, our traffic, and our collective well-being.” (Fun fact: Our Mayor is in his 70s and bike's to work almost every day!) You might be eying the weather for next week, unsure of whether or not you want to hop on a bike during cold or rainy days. The weather doesn't always cooperate at 7,000', but you should at least aim to make it out for the celebrations on Friday, May 19 for the Bike to Work, School, & Play Celebrations around town.
Bike Month Events
The City has partnered with a number of organizations and businesses around town, including Park City School District, Park City Police Department, Mountain Trails Foundation, Summit County, Basin Recreation, Park City Film Series, and other community nonprofits to create fun community events you can bring the whole family out to.
On Friday, May 19, 2017 there will be a variety of events around town that you can choose from, depending on where you're heading.
• Bike to Work, School & Play Day Kickoff Celebration (7:30 to 9:30 a.m. @ Park City Olympic Plaza): After some welcoming remarks from Mayor Jack Thomas, you'll get to bike to the Park City Library for more celebrations with the Mayor, Council members, and your friends. Support station with snacks from Squatters will be available until 9:30 am.
• Bike to Work, School & Play Celebration (7:30 to 10:30 a.m. @ Park City Library): Over at the library you can get your bike safety inspection done by Jans or try out an e-bike with Pedego. There will be a community raffle featuring locally donated prizes, including Bike Haul Lift Tickets from Park City Mountain sponsored by Epic Promise, gift cards for one-month memberships to The Mine Bouldering Gym, a $50 gift card to Pearl Izumi at the Tanger Outlet Mall, and more. Snacks and coffee will be provided by Park City Coffee Roasters so bring the whole family (pets included) down for a fun morning.
• Bike to School with the Park City Police and City Council (7:30 a.m.) Anyone who wants to bike to McPolin Elementary School with Park City Police Officers can meet at one of three locations (Park City Municipal Athletic and Recreation Center (PC MARC), Arches Park (end of Comstock & Sidewinder Drive), and Aspen Villas Apartments. To help promote safety, the Park City Council will be distributing children's bike helmets at PC MARC for this event.
On Wednesday May 31, 2017 come to the Mountain Madness at the DoubleTree Hilton, The Yarrow (1800 Park Ave) hosted by Mountain Trails Foundation, our amazing locally focused trail preservation organization, for an evening fill of trail talk, opportunity drawings for some cool bike related prizes, movies, and free food sponsored by Vail Resort's Epic Promise. Park City Council member Tim Henney (and former MTF board member) will give some remarks on the bike initiatives around town. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. while the featured movie shorts Bike Love and Adventure Shorts begin at 7 p.m.
The Future of Alternative Transport In Park City
Even if you can't make it out to any of the Bike Month events, the true priority and goals this endeavor are to encourage cycling as an alternative transportation mode over the long term. The city council is actively adding cycling infrastructure, including paved pathways and underpasses, and bike racks on buses. Summit County is preparing to roll out an e-bike share program with Bewegen Technologies, Inc. bikes in July, making cycling an even more accessible means for getting around town. More details can be found in the summer/fall 2017 issue of Park City Magazine, on newsstands in June.
According to the 2012 Utah Statewide Household Travel Survey, 73 percent of all households own bicycles and that over 60 percent of all trips statewide are less than two miles. When you think about your own schedule, you may quickly realize that most trips you take are actually quite doable on two wheels. One thing that's certain, cycling is central component in Park City's future transportation system. Not only is it a sustainable and economical way to get to destinations, it's also tons of fun and likely one of the reasons why Denmark consistently ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world.