University Mounts For An Exciting Bike Month

University To Hold Series of Events Celebrating Bike Month

BY: JOE SCOTT

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The University of Mississippi will be celebrating cycling all May, with UM Bike Month. Oxford and UM will join other communities across the nation in celebrating biking and encouraging people to get out and pedal all month.

The month’s activities are being supported by several groups across campus, including; the Office of Sustainability, the Ole Miss Bike Shop, Active Transportation Advisory Committee, and the Ole Miss Cycling Club.

“An event like Bike Month is so important for communities like ours where the biking community is growing.” Grace Sullivan, Junior journalism student and member of the Active Transport Advisory Committee, said. “It will not only be educational for non-bikers who are interested in getting into it, but it will help bring together cyclists in the community that might need a network to share tips, go on rides, and the like.”

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National Bike Month received its designation in 1956, when the League of American Bicyclists began the celebration. Bike Month is meant to promote cycling as a healthy and sustainable alternative for travel.

The events planned for this month’s celebration will focus on bike education and promotion. The events are for people of all skill levels, from newbies to experts.

“I love riding my bike on the road with other people as a means of transportation, and we have several events in which we will ride with others…” Anne McCauley, Assistant Director of the Office of Sustainability, said. “I am really looking forward to these experiences.”

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The Ole Miss Bike Shop will host Maintenance Mondays, where our professional bike technicians will teach bike repair and maintenance. The sessions will happen every Monday this month, from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

May 4th was bike to school day, which included commuter convoys and breakfast for cyclists on the Union Plaza. Convoys left from several off campus destinations from 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM, and breakfast was served from 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM.

“I was particularly looking forward to the commuter convoy event on May 4th!” Sullivan said. “This event  allowed students interested in commuting for the first time a chance to ride the route with an experienced cyclist and hopefully gain the confidence they need to ride in the road by themselves.”

There will be two Pedal and Picnic events on May 10th and 17th. Groups will meet in front of the Lyceum at 10:30 AM and ride to a free picnic at Lamar Park. Similarly, May 24th and May 31st will be Bike To Lunch days. During which, groups will meet at noon in front of the Lyceum, to travel to a lunch destination.

There will also be a brief Commuting 101 class to teach students the basics about commuting by bike. The date and time for the session is still to be determined.

Students are encouraged to register for the National Bike Challenge, and be part of the biggest group ride ever. The National Bike Challenge will have students compete with themselves and for Ole Miss. Students sign up to record biked miles, contribute to the University’s total miles, and compete to win individual prizes. Students can register at https://nationalbikechallenge.org/register.

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This Bike Month is chock full great opportunities to learn more about cycling, get some great exercise, and celebrate the cyclist lifestyle. The University and Oxford community has worked hard to make a bike friendly environment, and has even received an honorary mention nod from the League of American Bicyclists.  The Bike Month celebrations and our participation in the National Bike Challenge are aimed at furthering growing our bike community.

“May is the perfect time to try out riding around town by bike because the weather is nice and the car traffic eases, and one purpose of Bike Month is to encourage community members to try it out.” Assistant Director McCauley said. “If you have ever had a complaint about driving, parking, or traffic, then you must give riding a bike a chance. It’s fun, it’s cheap, and good for you.”

You can follow the Bike Month schedule and event updates on facebook, by following the Ole Miss Green Initiative and the Ole Miss Cycling Club. You can learn more about how to get involved at bike.olemiss.edu.

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