National Bike to Work/School Day is on May 20 and Western Washington University is showing its support with booths, food and more throughout the month of May.
Friday, May 20 from 7 to 10 a.m., Western had celebration stations around campus for riders who biked to school or work that morning.
“We will have snacks from the Co-Op and Erin Bakers there for riders,” James Detke, sophomore and Western active transportation coordinator said. “You can come and chat with the people who are into biking.”
Two stations on the Western campus, one near the Wade King Recreation Center and the other near Bond Hall. Western’s Outdoor Center and Transportation Services Department ran these posts and congratulated riders with snacks and cheers all morning.
Along with National Bike to Work/School Day, the Bike Everywhere Challenge will be held all May. It is a statewide event that Western is taking part in to encourage students and faculty to get outside and bike. The challenge is in concurrence with National Bike Month, recognized by the League of American Cyclists.
The contest is well underway, with 20,936 bikers already signed up. Each challenger is vying for prizes given out depending on a team’s miles, days and invitations. Teams can be created through this link, with a max count of ten people per squad.
Western’s Commute Options and Transportation Planning Manager, Jillian Trinkaus sees May’s biking events as a form of spring and summer appreciation.
“It's a good time to remind people to get their bike out of the garage, pump up the tires and start riding again,” she said. “We’re reminding folks of the joys and utility of riding a bicycle.”
The Cascadia Bike Club, based in Seattle, Wash., is a major supporter and contributor to National Bike Month and the Bike Everywhere Challenge.
Paul Tolmé, Cascadia’s content strategy and media relations manager thinks of the challenge as a way to create new routine bikers in Washington.
“The Bike Everywhere Challenge is really a platform where folks from around the state can create teams and participate in this challenge,” he said. “Cascade is always looking for opportunities to spread the word further to invite more folks into the bicycling community.”
These spring events are not only to bring new cyclists into the community but also to spread knowledge of climate change awareness and alternates to driving.
“Transportation in Washington state is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions,” Tolmé said. “Our part of this effort is to raise awareness that we all need to be engaged because that's what it's going to take to solve the big challenge of climate change.”
The Bike Everywhere Challenge is also more student-oriented than ever at WWU.
“In the past, it has been more focused on Western employees,” Detke said. “We're trying to make it more open and engaging for students.”
Historically, the contest was largely within the Western staff, though this year the Western Transportation Department has assembled incentives for students to participate in this year's challenge.
Every Western student team that signs up and completes three rides is entered into a raffle to win a $20 gift card to Cafe Velo.
Detke and two other Western students have entered the contest as the Biking Vikings and have a total of 116 miles ridden so far.
“It's good to get out and ride, especially this time of year when it's so sunny out,” Detke said. “I always feel better when I ride to school.”
Jack Glenn (he/him) is the editor in chief for The Front this quarter. He began working at the Front in the spring of 2022 as a sports reporter.