Massachusetts ride your bike week is May 14-20

Massachusetts ride your bike week is May 14-20

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Islanders Nelia Decker, Peter Rodegast, and Tony Omer, pedaled for fun along South Beach in Katama on a sunny day. — File photo by Susan Safford

Dust off those garage-stranded bicycles, oil the chains and check the tire pressure and brakes, pull your helmet out of the closet — and ride. It’s May, National Bike Month, and there are a number of bike-centric activities planned on the Vineyard.

The League of American Bicyclists has designated the month of May as national bike month. The League has designated the week of May 14-18 to be Bike to Work Week and Friday, May 18, as Bike to Work Day.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has declared Monday May 14 through Sunday the 20 to be Bay State Ride Your Bike Week. Residents are encouraged to participate by riding their bicycles to school and work that week.

Here on the Vineyard there is a bicycle ride fundraiser called MS Ride the Vineyard this Saturday, May 5.

The third annual Blessing of the Bikes will be 10 am, Saturday May 19 at the Federated Church, 45 South Summer Street in Edgartown. The blessing will be officiated by The Reverend Jerry Fritz, pastor. Rev. Fritz said, “Cyclists of all ages and any faith, belief or ideas are welcome.”

Peg Regan, program director for Mass in Motion-MV, is organizing events for the ride your bike week initiative on the Vineyard. She said that a number of Island organizations are planning special events for the week. The Boys and Girls Club is staging a bike rodeo, and the Charter School is going to present a “how to fix your own bike” seminar, with high school students helping younger students.

Cycleworks is offering free bicycle safety inspections from 9 am to 6 pm Monday through Saturday until May 20 at their shop on State Road in Vineyard Haven. In Edgartown, Wheel Happy will be lending bicycles to the YMCA for a bicycle parade during the bike week as well as offering a $25 spring bike checkup for riders who ride their bikes to work on Bike to Work in Edgartown Day, May 11.

“We are hoping to rally bikers for a shared-use path audit that week,” said Ms. Regan. The audit will help define the sections of the shared use paths that need improving. She said that she hopes there will be more events before the week ends.

Mass in Motion-MV

Peg Regan retired as Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School principal after nine years in 2008. This year she took on the job as an advocate for healthier children through a state-funded initiative that promotes health by focusing on ways to make it easier and safer to walk and bike. It is called Mass in Motion-MV.

Mass in Motion-MV was started when the Dukes County Health Council received a grant from the Massachusetts Departments of Health and Transportation earmarked for programs to deal with childhood obesity. They hired Ms. Regan to head the program. Ms. Regan said the program will receive $60,000 a year from the State for the next five years to be used on Martha’s Vineyard to address three basic issues: 1. Safe Routes to School, so children can walk and ride their bikes to school safely and to see that the schools enlist in the State wide program called Safe Rides to School; 2. Complete Streets, is a program to assist towns in redesigning their streets to better accommodate bicycles, pedestrians as well as cars; 3. An annual Ride your Bike Week, to encourage people to ride their bikes to work as well as to school.

Ms. Regan has been meeting with town officials, police departments, schools, the media, cyclists, and cycle shops on the Island to promote the programs. She has organized two “Complete Streets” seminars that brought together professional planners with local officials and interested lay people to promote the idea that streets are multi-use and should be designed to accommodate bicycles, pedestrians, and the handicapped — as well as cars and trucks.

For more information or to volunteer to help with Bay state Bike Week, May 14-20, contact Peg Regan, Mass in Motion – MV, pegregan@dukescounty.org.