Bike Week 2015: Celebrating Bike Culture | Santa Cruz – Hilltromper

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by Xochitl Rojas-Rocha

April 30, 2015—Bike Week reminds us that there’s a lot to love about biking: the healthy lifestyle choice, the enthusiastic community and the reduced pollution in the atmosphere. From May 1 to May 8, Santa Cruz County celebrates bike culture with all-new events and discounts at local restaurants in a parade of activities that draws in 10,000 people a year. Biking enthusiasts will have chances to win an electric bike and join in the effort to clean up part of a much-anticipated 32-mile bike rail trail. (Learn more under the Schedule section at the bottom of this page.)

The celebration starts tomorrow with First Friday at the Museum of Art & History, co-organized by Bike Santa Cruz County. Along within enjoying a brand-new Grateful Dead art exhibit called Dear Jerry and listening to the Grateful Dead tribute band The China Cats, participants will have the opportunity to watch live bike stunts and connect with local bike shops on-site. At Ecology Action’s booth, attendees will have the opportunity to enter a raffle to win an electric bike from the Santa Cruz-based Blix Electric Bikes.

Piet Canin, Ecology Action’s transportation director, says that the Blix can extend some folks’ cycling careers.

“The cool thing about the electric bike is that we have a population that’s aging,” Canin says, “and some people are like, ‘I used to bike in the day, but now my health doesn’t allow me to.’ So having an electric bike can assist and they can have a fairly clean source of transportation.”

On Saturday, May 2, beginning, intermediate and advanced cyclists alike are welcome to join in on group rides hosted by the Santa Cruz County Cycling Club. It’s a chance to meet other people crazy about cycling and get more practice on the wheels. Ride start times are 8:45am and 9:45am. Learn more on the Santa Cruz County Cycling Club website.

On Sunday, May 3, bike-week participants can join the Rail Trail Cleanup in Seabright and Live Oak. A collaboration between Ecology Action, Save Our Shores and Friends of the Rail Trail, the Rail Trail Cleanup is open to volunteers who want to see part of a proposed 32-mile bike path look its best. Meet at the intersection of Seabright and Murray (in front of Java Junction) at 10am; participants get free coffee from Java Junction and a 20% off coupon from Patagonia Santa Cruz.

If public efforts to fund the path succeed, the Rail Trail will run alongside part of the Santa Cruz County Coastal Rail corridor. This railroad passes through some of the most densely populated portions of Santa Cruz County, like Seabright.

“People who live nearby want to see the project go forward because it’s really an amenity towards people who live very close by,” Canin says. “It gives you other transportation and recreation, a chance to get away from cars where it’s peaceful and quiet.”

The Rail Trail could also help keep bicyclists safe while they commute between work or school and home. While healthy lifestyles and reduced carbon footprints may also be on bicyclists’ mind, studies show that safety is their main concern. A report by the Portland Office of Transportation found that 60 percent of participants were “interested but concerned” about biking. According to the report, fear of injury or even death keeps this majority from biking on the roadways. And in 2012, a report by the California Office of Traffic Safety ranked Santa Cruz as the worst city for bicyclists based on the number of reported injuries and fatalities.

Rolling Safely

Like the much-contested Arana Gulch Multi-Use Trail, the Rail Trail could give locals the boost in confidence they need to get back on their bikes. Santa Cruz native Jenny Putt is one such person.

“For me personally, [the Arana Gulch Trail] made the difference between me biking to work and not biking to work,” says Putt. She sees other people from the community using the trails on a daily basis, as well. Parents walk past pushing strollers and children walk their dogs while she bikes home from work.

“I was born and raised in Santa Cruz, so I know that we have a lot of outdoor people who would love to not be in their cars. [The Rail Trail] could be a really commuter-friendly area with bikes,” says Putt.

Following the Rail Trail Cleanup, Bike Week continues with Cycle & Dine on Tuesday, May 5. Charlie Hong Kong, Surfrider Café, Seabright Brewery and other eateries offer discounts for bicyclists throughout the day. “Gear Up” day follows right on Cycle & Dine’s heels on Wednesday, May 6 with discounts for cyclists at bike shops like Bicycle Trip and Epicenter Cycling. Learn more about participating restaurants and bike shops at the Bike to Work website.

Thursday, May 7 is the popular Bike to Work Day and Bike/Walk to School Day. Up to 7,000 people band together to enjoy free breakfast at 13 different sites throughout Santa Cruz County, with free bike maintenance and another chance to enter for raffle prizes. Where are you going to go for breakfast? Check this list of participating restaurants.

Finally, Friday, May 8 will bring the celebration to a close with a Bike Party group ride. Meet at 7pm at the Bike Church, 703 Pacific Ave in Santa Cruz. The theme is Prom, so dust off those frills, bowties and dresses, and you might win the best-dressed prize. It may be the 28th annual Bike Week, but that doesn’t mean Santa Cruz can’t keep things fresh.


Friday, May 1: 5-9pm. First Friday at the Museum of Art & History. Map to MAH

Saturday, May 2: 8:45 and 9:45am. Santa Cruz County Cycling Club Group Rides.

Sunday, May 3: 10-12pm. Rail Trail Cleanup in Seabright & Live Oak. 12:30-1:30pm: Watershed Tour Ride with the Coastal Watershed Council. Meet at the San Lorenzo River Trestle on the Boardwalk side of the bridge.

Tuesday, May 5: Cycle & Dine. Discounts for cyclists at Charlie Hong Kong, Midtown Café, Chocolate, Surfrider Café, Seabright Brewery and Severino’s Bar & Grill.

Wednesday, May 6: Gear Up. Another day of discounts for cyclists at participating bike shops, including ABS, Epicenter Cycling, Family Cycling Center, Bike Station Aptos, Spokesman Bicycles, Bicycle Trip and Sprockets.

Thursday, May 7: 6:30-9.30am. Bike to Work Day and Bike/Walk to School. For free breakfast, show up to any of the 13 breakfast sites between 6:30-9:30am.

Friday, May 8: 7-9pm. Santa Cruz Bike Party. Meet at Bike Church, 703 Pacific Ave. Map to Bike Church.