You may not know it – but this week is Bike Week in Santa Cruz. 25 years ago a group of avid bikers started Bike Week to emphasize their healthy, ecological choice. Now, Bike Week is used to encourage people to get on their bikes and ride – but it also has a political message as it urges those in power to pay attention to the growing number of bikers.
This year, they expect 7000 bikers to participate in Bike to Work Day and they emphasize that 8% of the country commutes to work on their bikes. As Peit Canin, who heads the Ecology Action’s transportation group, said, “It definitely shows that bicycling has gotten traction in Santa Cruz.”
Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane is a biking advocate, pointing out that he often commutes on his bike and that it allows him to avoid traffic jams and parking hassles. Lane said,
“(Bike Week) is a growing reminder of the importance of bicycling as a way to get around day-to-day. Something that’s going to make an even bigger difference in the overall quality of life in the community is when we get people to use their cars a little less and their bikes a little more.”
Bike Week kicked off this past Friday night with a celebration at the Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz. The official Bike to Work and School Day is this Thursday. There will be 60 restaurants giving out breakfast to morning commuters who are biking by on this day.
In addition, Project Bike Trip is piggy-backing on the Bike Week and having a “The Two-Wheeled Challenge” for the entire month. They will be raising money for youth bike programs. Participants can go to projectbiketrip.org to sign up for the “commute-a-thon” program and all proceeds will go to programs for school kids in the area.
Santa Cruz is proud of its biking efforts and emphasis. Just last year, the city of Santa Cruz was awarded a silver medal by the League of American Cyclists for being such a bicycle friendly location. As Shauna Soldate, the county bicycle program coordinator said,
“In the early spring when the weather starts to get nice, I get a deluge of calls. I think in comparison to a lot of places, Santa Cruz city in particular is really accessible to bicycles. Once you get into the city area, it’s pretty easy to bicycle around.”
This week in particular, Santa Cruz is encouraging you to get on your bike and ride!