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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Riding into Bike Month

Western’s Sustainable Transportation Office hosts a Bike Month photo contest

Kenzi Garner, Associated Students Western’s Alternative Transportation coordinator, poses on a bicycle during Bike Month. // Photo by Hannah Gordon-Kirk

By Tony Mueantonthian

Students, faculty and staff who submit photos to Western’s Sustainable Transportation Bike Month photo contest could win $50 gift certificates this month.

Jillian Trinkaus, the Sustainable Transportation program manager, said the contest was created to encourage people to get some exercise.

According to the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month, established in 1956, is a chance to showcase the benefits of bicycling and encourage more cyclists to ride. Western has celebrated Bike Month since 2017.

Participants need to post their photos under #WWUBIKEMONTH on Instagram or Facebook. Winners will be chosen at random and announced on a video.

“The photo needs to be a photo of the participants posing with the bike,” said Kenzi Garner, Western’s Alternative Transportation coordinator.

According to Western’s Sustainable Transportation office, winners are chosen at random and announced on a video drawing. The first winner of the Bike Month photo contest was chosen on May 15, and the next will be on June 1.

Katana Sol, a third-year student at Western who won $50 from the Bike Month photo contest on May 15, said that she was surprised when she won the $50 gift certificate from the event. 

“One of my friends posted about the hashtag in my comments section, and I thought I would try it out,” Sol said. “After I checked the video announcement at Western’s sustainability Instagram page for the winner on May 15, I saw my name on the paper.”

Sol said that the COVID-19 gave her an opportunity to learn how to ride a bicycle because she wanted to use the bicycle as her alternative way of transportation. 

Spencer Davis, a fourth-year student at Western who is one of the participants in the competition, said he found the event on Western’s sustainability Instagram page. 

“If I won the $50 gift certificate … I would choose the local bike shop Cafe Velo,” Davis said. “ They will always greet the customers with a smile and make you feel like home.”

Trinkaus said that in the Pacific Northwest, people can ride a bicycle year-round because there is not much snow, but May is usually when people are more likely to ride.

Garner said the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing creates an opportunity for cyclists. She said that the focus this bike month is on riding alone or only with people in the same household. 

Garner said cyclists can find tips for healthy riding during the current crisis on the Ride Healthy website.

“For the new cyclist, I recommend you to get a good protection gear, for example, a helmet, clothes that make you visible on the road. You should plan out the route that can keep you away from the crowded environment,” Garner said. “We also encourage all the cyclists to wear face masks since the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Because the Whatcom Transportation Authority temporarily reduced bus service due to COVID-19, Garner said it is the best time for those who want to bike for exercise and travel.

“There are not many cars on the road, which is safe for us as cyclists to go out for a ride,” Garner said.

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