State College

It’s National Bike Month. In Centre County, there’s more ways than ever to participate

Pennsylvania transportation officials have bike safety tips for children and parents

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation produced this video to promote bicycle safety for young students and their parents. It covers basics such as bike selection, helmet fitting, bicycle safety checks, and how to securely park a bike.
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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation produced this video to promote bicycle safety for young students and their parents. It covers basics such as bike selection, helmet fitting, bicycle safety checks, and how to securely park a bike.

Chances are that if you live or work in Centre County, you’re likely to see more bicyclists out riding on the area’s roads and paths this month.

Yes, the weather is much more favorable now for riding. It’s also National Bike Month — and Centre County health, transportation and cycling groups are making a collective effort to encourage more people to get out and ride.

Although groups like CentreBike, the Happy Valley Women’s Cycling Team, State College Cycling and the Nittany Mountain Biking Association make pushes each May to encourage more people to bike, there are more National Bike Month activities planned this year than ever before, Trish Meek, transportation planner for the Centre Regional Planning Agency, said.

“This is the first time that we’ve had this many activities planned,” Meek said. “Previously we’ve had some bike commuter coffees, we sponsored some classes, but this time, we’re really starting to promote biking more in the Centre Region.”

According to data collected by the League of American Bicyclists, Pennsylvania has, on average, seen a 100% increase in people commuting by bike from 2005-13. Part of that increase has also been felt locally, Meek said, and the Centre Region has responded with the construction of new bike paths such as the Circleville bike path and the Puddintown-Orchard Road bikeway system, as well as the planned Valley Vista shared use path between Patton and Ferguson townships.

State College is even collecting information to gauge the public’s interest in launching a bike share. The survey is expected to stay up on the borough’s website through May, communications specialist Douglas Shontz said.

“You have to think that from a national perspective, biking is more in the forefront,” Meek said. “More people are biking, more people are engaging in this type of recreation, and our elected officials are very supportive of these types of programs. And our community is receptive.”

On the slate for National Bike Month are regular fixtures like the commuter coffees, group rides and various bike-related info classes, as well as some new features.

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A sign on Easterly Parkway reminds bicycles and motorists to share the road. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

For the first time, local restaurants — including Primanti Bros., Texas Roadhouse and The Naked Egg Cafe — are getting involved by offering 10% discounts for people who show their helmets on select times and dates through the Bike and Munch program.

“It makes sense for everybody because they’re attracting new customers and they’re showing the bike community that they support them,” Meek said.

Although many of the activities are based in the Centre Region, people can participate in initiatives like Centre Moves’ Push the Pedal from anywhere in the county. Penns Valley Pedals and Pints, HVWCT’s Pizza Rides at Robin Hood Brewing Co. in Walker Township and Open Streets Bellefonte also offer group riding opportunities in May and beyond.

In its first year, Push the Pedal was developed in a community effort between Centre Moves, CRPA, Centre Region Parks and Recreation, CentreBike and others to create a communitywide incentive to cycle.

“What we really hope is that we create a sense that biking is a viable, fun option that no matter who you are, no matter what your fitness level, this is a sport that can be for you,” said Mount Nittany Health Outreach Liaison Jeannine Lozier, who serves on the Centre Moves physical activity committee.

Based off of the Big Pedal program in England, which encouraged elementary students to log enough miles to bike to the moon, Push the Pedal measures both individual and community miles spent doing any type of biking in May. Individuals log their miles at CentreMoves.org, and can earn badges by reaching milestones. The miles logged by each participant are also cumulative, to gauge how far the community rides as a whole.

The idea to launch the program during Bike Month, Lozier said, was to not only provide an incentive to ride, but also to take advantage of all the other programs going on to help would-be cyclers learn more about bike safety, and cycling in Centre County.

“We’re providing all these avenues to engage in bike activities and biking groups to try to encourage people to be less afraid of biking,” Lozier said. “For some people, it’s a really scary endeavor if they don’t know the rules of the road. So our hope is that by doing this as a community, there will be more people out biking, we reduce their fear factor and help them feel much more comfortable on the road.”

As more bicyclists are expected to be on the roads, the state Department of Transportation is also holding various safety awareness campaigns throughout the month, District 2 safety press officer Tim Nebgen said. One rule Nebgen said PennDOT is reminding motorists of in particular is that vehicles must allow 4 feet of distance when overtaking a bicycle, and are allowed to cross the center line in a no-passing zone to do so, if conditions allow.

“Bicyclists have every right to be on the road along with motorists, as long as they are adhering to the same set of rules and regulations,” he said.

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Bikers gather in the parking lot behind the Millheim Fire Company for the 18-mile ride with the Penns Valley Pedals and Pints bike club in 2016. Abby Drey Centre Daily Times, file

By building momentum and excitement around biking through the various bike month activities, Lozier said Centre Moves’ goal is to help make biking a long-term habit for more people, especially for those who may have had earlier reservations.

“Biking is for everyone, so if you’re just interested in getting started, we can give you the information to do that,” Meek said. “If you want to find out about where would be a great place for you to ride, based on your skill and confidence level we can help you do that, too. So no one should feel intimidated. Just come out and ask us questions, and we’ll get you answers.”

National Bike Month activities

(For a full list, see CentreBike.org or EngageStateCollege.us)

11-2 a.m. May 7: Bike and Munch at Primanti Bros. Those who ride their bikes to the restaurant get a discount on food.

5:30-8:30 p.m. May 7: State College Cycling Tuesday rides offer weekly group rides for road cyclists of various abilities. This ride begins at Circleville Park. 

11-2 a.m. May 8: Bike and Munch at Primanti Bros. Those who ride their bikes to the restaurant get a discount on food.

6-7 p.m. May 9: Don’t let a flat tire ruin your day! Learn the basics of how to change a tire at The Bicycle Shop.

6:30-8 p.m. May 9: Learn about electronic bikes, how much they cost and where to get them at Eddie’s Bicycle and Hockey Equipment at 480 E. College Ave. in State College.

7:30-10 a.m. May 10: Free coffee for bike commuters at Sunset Park.

6-8 p.m. May 10: Join the happy Valley Women’s Cycling Team at Robin Hood Brewing Company at 1796 Zion Road in Belleofnte for a social ride and pizza.

3-11 p.m. May 13: Bike and Munch at Texas Roadhouse. Those who ride their bikes to the restaurant get a discount on food.

5:30 p.m. May 13: Bicycle Friendly Business Happy Hour at Videon Central, Inc. 2171 Sandy Drive, State College.

7 a.m.-3 p.m. May 14: Bike and Munch at the Naked Egg Cafe. Those who ride their bikes to the restaurant get a discount on food.

5:30-8:30 p.m. May 14: State College Cycling Tuesday rides offer weekly group rides for road cyclists of various abilities. This ride begins at Fairbrook Park. 

8-9 p.m. May 14: Stop by the HUB Plaza on campus to receive a free set of lights and learn about the Centre Region’s bike facilities. Cyclists in Pennsylvania are required to use lights between dusk and dawn.

10:30 a.m.-1 p.m May 15: A bike repair information table will be set up at the bike repair station at 242 S. Allen St.

11 a.m.-10 p.m. May 15: Bike and Munch at Tailgate Sports Bar and Grill. Those who ride their bikes to the restaurant get a discount on food.

6-7:45 p.m. May 16: Biking in the Centre Region 101 held at Schlow Centre Region Library will teach those just starting with cycling or those looking to feel more confident navigating local trails and routes all about state and local laws, how to pick a bike and more.

May 17: National Bike to Work Day

8-10 a.m. May 17: Free coffee for bike commuters at The Bicycle Shop.

11 a.m.-3 p.m. May 18: Open Streets Bellefonte will create “paved parks” on select Bellefonte streets, temporarily closing them to motorized vehicle traffic and opening them to human traffic on foot, bike, scooter and more.

11 .a.m.-9 p.m. May 18: Bike and Munch at My My Chicken. Those who ride their bikes to the restaurant get a discount on food.

12:30 p.m. May 18: The Ride of Silence is a slow-paced, 12-mile free ride to raise awareness of cyclists’ rights to public roadways while honoring riders who have been injured or killed. The ride begins at the Penn Stater at 215 Innovation Blvd.

11 .am.-9 p.m. May 20: Bike and Munch at Faccia Luna in State College. Those who ride their bikes to the restaurant get a discount on food.

11 .am.-9 p.m. May 21: Bike and Munch at Luna 2 in State College. Those who ride their bikes to the restaurant get a discount on food.

5:30-8:30 p.m. May 21: State College Cycling Tuesday rides offer weekly group rides for road cyclists of various abilities. This ride begins at Mount Nittany Middle School 

6-7:30 p.m. May 21: Bike Commuting 101 at the State College Municipal Building will teach the basics of how to safely bike to work, traffic safety principles, layering and dealing with the weather, how not to arrive at the office a sweaty mess and more.

11 a.m.-close May 22: Bike and Munch at Luna 2 Woodgrill and Bar. Those who ride their bikes to the restaurant get a discount on food.

6-8:30 p.m. May 22: Enjoy the Penns Valley scenery while donating to local charities then enjoying dinner and a beer while sharing bike stories at Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks. The group meets at the gravel lot beside the Millheim Fire Company. Helmets are required.

11 a.m.-close May 23: Bike and Munch at Luna 2 Woodgrill and Bar. Those who ride their bikes to the restaurant get a discount on food.

8-10 a.m. May 24: Free coffee for bike commuters at Good Day Cafe. Those who ride their bikes to the restaurant get free coffee.

11 a.m.-9 p.m. May 25: Bike and Munch at My My Chicken. Those who ride their bikes to the restaurant get a discount on food.

5:30-8:30 p.m. May 28: State College Cycling Tuesday rides offer weekly group rides for road cyclists of various abilities. This ride begins at Bernel Road Park. 

6-8:30 p.m. May 29: Enjoy the Penns Valley scenery while donating to local charities then enjoying dinner and a beer while sharing bike stories at Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks. The group meets at the gravel lot beside the Millheim Fire Company. Helmets are required.

8-10 a.m. May 31: Free coffee for bike commuters at Freeze Thaw Cycles.

11 a.m.-1 p.m. June 1: The Ferguson Township Police Bike Rodeo offers a bike safety course for kids aged 4-12, as well as provides bike registration, bike and car seat safety checks and information on sharing the path.

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