A few years back (2005 if my memory serves me correctly), area cyclists joined the National Bike to Work week with a local event centered at the College Football Hall of Fame. Organizers provided coffee, Danish pastry, and a selection of healthful fruits as bikers stopped off on their way to work. Since then…wow. The activities during Bike Month have exploded. Below, I am listing the Michiana events that come to mind, and I’m asking readers to add those I was not aware of, or have overlooked.
May – all month. South Bend Bike Month, as proclaimed by Mayor Pete of South Bend. And, of course, National Bike Month and Indiana Bike Month.
May 2- Mishawaka & South Bend. The Share The Road…Every Life Counts procession. This procession is an outgrowth of cyclists wanting to give final respects to Steven Carey, an area biker who was recently struck and killed by a motorist. But further, the cyclists wanted to raise awareness that roads and crosswalks are to be shared by a lot of folks: cars, motorcyclists, pedestrians, people with disabilities, even infants in strollers.
May 20 – South Bend, Mishawaka, St. Joseph County. Bike the Bend. This will be the third year for this event, which is causing a lot of excitement in St. Joseph County and beyond. It is a unique, non-competitive bicycle tour for all ages and skill levels – riding side-by-side on vehicle-restricted streets. Riders may start and stop at any point along the 34-mile route. Highlights are St. Patrick’s County Park, the St. Joseph River, Monkey Island, historic neighborhoods, Potawatomi Park and Zoo, Northern Indiana Center for History/Studebaker National Museum, the Indiana University South Bend campus, Kamm Island, Beutter Park and Eberhart-Petro Golf Course. Overnight camping is available at St. Patrick’s Park, the northern terminus of the ride. Last year there were 1,926 registered riders coming from 7 states. Within the state of Indiana, there were registered riders from 17 counties. Bike the Bend is the kickoff event for Michiana Bike to Work Week.
May 20 – Elkhart. The city is inviting people to try three newly established bicycle routes through Elkhart from 2:00 – 5:00 pm. Riders are meeting at NIBCO Water and Ice Park on the Riverwalk in downtown Elkhart. Cyclists who are considering riding their bicycle to work, will get a chance to experience the Elkhart routes and make suggestions to the city. The city is in the process of making maps available online at the city’s web site www.ElkhartIndiana.org.
May 21 – 25. Michiana Bike to Work Week is the oldest annual urban event in the area. The main highlight is the Corporate Challenge, where teams compete for bragging rights based on how many miles a team can log on their bikes (even public transit miles counts as a bike miles!). In 2011, colleges led the way with three teams in the top ten: Notre Dame, Indiana University at South Bend, and Goshen College. Other highlights of the week are the Tuesday Organic blueberry pancake breakfast, free to those on a bike, and Bike to School Day on May 24.
Goshen. A repeat of last year’s Mayor’s Ride is being planned, but details are forthcoming.