By Aaron Williams
On the Go
May 2020For this year, let’s just call it “Bike Away from Work Month Challenge.”
By Aaron Williams
Photo: Cameron Lievense
With many folks working from home due to the COVID-19 crisis, the annual National Bike to Work Month in conjunction with May being National Bike Month has taken on a different feel. But Cameron Lievense said the Queen lyrics still ring true - “Get on your bikes and ride!”
Like fixing a flat tire out on the trail, the wellness coordinator with the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency who has spearheaded the Shasta Bike Challenge is making things work in the middle of this crisis. Taking place from May 1 to 31, the Shasta Bike Challenge encourages people to ditch their automobile in favor of pedal power.
In the past, the emphasis has been on commuters riding to and from work. But with some working from home and others taking time with their families and children, the fork in the road calls for people to swap the auto for bike-powered errand-running, socially distant exercise or a family aerobic outing. “We’re just pushing for people to remain physically active,” Lievense says. “Get out with your family. Ride to the store. It really is an amazing way to get out.”
And the outdoor-friendly North State is a perfect place, Lievense says, to do so, with miles of trails inside the Sacramento River Trail system, as well as an increased focus on making surface streets bike-friendly. Last year, 786 riders participated, logging a cumulative total of 11,000 miles. “We ranked second nationally for our population size and fourth overall,” Lievense says.
The goal for 2020 – more than 1,000 participants – might not be met, but he says the Shasta Bike Challenge will still track miles and Shasta County plans to race up the national leaderboard. Individuals and teams can register at www.healthyshasta.org/bike-challenge and COVID-19 language and safety tips have been added.
Many of the planned events have been postponed, but not canceled yet. If social distancing and shelter-in-place measures allow, a June 5 celebration could be held. Prizes are still being awarded, with the Sheraton at Turtle Bay offering a one-night stay while other swag includes Shasta Caverns passes and a balance bike, among other things.
In addition to getting cars off the street, the Shasta Bike Challenge and Bike to Work Month has always been about health and well-being. And what better way to model that for your children, he says, than going for a family ride after work? “Kids aren’t always super excited about walking, but get them on a bike and it’s a game-changer,” he says. “It’s hard not to smile when riding a bike.”
And that’s really the bottom line - “Get on your bikes and ride!” •