Written By DaytonMostMetro.com guest contributor Val Hunt Beerbower – PR Specialist at Five Rivers MetroParks
Cycling is taking Dayton by storm, and this pedal-powered movement has captured national attention.
The League of American Bicyclists has honored Dayton, Ohio, with its bronze-level status for a bike-friendly city. “Communities from all areas of the country, climates and populations see bicycling as an integral component of building livable communities,” said League President Andy Clarke. “The Bicycle Friendly Community program is recognizing those leading the way.”
To celebrate this designation and highlight the emerging prominence of bicycling in Dayton, a special escorted group ride is scheduled in concurrence with Urban Nights. Urban Bikes @ Urban Nights, a group ride, kicks off festivities at 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 14, at Fifth Third Field. “This is a great way to bring cycling to the attention of Urban Nights patrons and raise awareness of bicyclists’ right to share the road,” said Andy Williamson, assistant outdoor recreation manager for the Outdoor Recreation Department at Five Rivers MetroParks, and spokesperson for the Drive Less Live More campaign. “It’s a bigger and bolder version of the regular Courteous Mass rides, in which we promote group cycling with an emphasis on learning the rules of the road. This is more of a parade – complete with local celebrities!” In addition to Dayton Police Department officers, Urban Bikes @ Urban Nights will host two Dayton City Commissioners.
There is much cause for celebration within the cycling community. The application process to become a BFC is rigorous; currently only 140 of the 359 total applicants have a BFC four-year designation. Communities vying for BCF status must establish records in two or more of the five categories which are known as the Five Es:
- Education: Does the community have systems in place to train children and adult cyclists?
- Engineering: Are bicyclists included in the city’s transportation plan?
- Enforcement: Do police officers understand and enforce bicyclists’ rights and responsibilities?
- Encouragement: Does the community participate in Bike Month, offer bike rodeos, host community bike rides, or otherwise encourage cycling?
- Evaluation: Does the community have methods in place to ensure their bicyclist programs are making a difference?
Adding to the excitement of the occasion is the upcoming opening of the new RiverScape Bike Hub, part of RiverScape MetroPark’s latest development phase. The Hub will feature secured, patrolled areas with 40 bike lockers, four showers, 42 storage lockers, restrooms and food concession stand, making it convenient for bike commuters to head to work on two wheels as well as families in need of a pit stop while enjoying an afternoon on the recreational trails. “The Hub is only the third bike commuter facility to open east of the Mississippi,” says Five Rivers MetroParks Outdoor Recreation Director Greg Brumitt. “Washington, D.C., and Chicago are the other east coast locations, and we’re only the third in the Midwest (besides Chicago and Minneapolis) to open a hub. Certainly, we’re the first mid-size city to open a special bike hub, and that’s something to cheer about.”
Anyone who can ride a bike is invited to join the celebration at 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 14, at Fifth Third Field. Participants are encouraged to enjoy the rest of the sights and sounds of Urban Nights. Five Rivers MetroParks will have its own bike-friendly activities—free bike rentals and pedicabs will be available from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday.
Learn more about other cycling activities and opportunities by visiting the website www.metroparks.org/cycling or calling (937) 275-277-4374.