Some wear spandex and have resting heart rates lower than their age. Some look as if they’re on their way to an Urban Outfitters modeling audition.
Some travel in groups, while others roll solo. Some are trying to drop a few pounds, and some have legs so finely tuned, passing motorist might swoon if they weren’t so busy wondering, “Does he shave his legs?”
Some ride for fun. Some are trying to reduce their carbon footprint, and some are just trying to get from Point A to Point B.
Bicyclists are a diverse lot, some so different, the only thing they have in common is their mode of transportation. May is the time when these riders celebrate two-wheel travel.
It is bike month, and as always, the South Sound offers plenty of ways to celebrate.
The Thurston County Bicycle Commuter Challenge turns 30 this May and is the state’s oldest bicycle commuter contest. It’s also just one of the South Sound’s riding incentive programs. To participate in the Thurston County challenge, riders of all types can register with Intercity Transit for a chance to win prizes at bcc.intercitytransit.com.
Pierce County, the city of Tacoma and Pierce Transit are combining for their annual cycling challenge. Prizes are on the line here, too, at piercetrips.com.
Cyclists can earn points for pedaling in the statewide Bike Everywhere Challenge. Participants can compete against others for prizes at lovetoride.net.
WHEREAS, BIKES RULE
Festivities started in April, but Tacoma City Council members and Mayor Marilyn Strickland are scheduled to read its annual bike month proclamation at its 5 p.m. meeting Tuesday at the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St.
LACEY TEST RIDE
On Tuesday, Lacey’s Joy Ride Bikes is offering an opportunities to take a demo ride on new bikes from Santa Cruz and Yeti Cycles. Availability is limited and registration is required. joyridebicycles.com
SHOP RIDES: TUMWATER TO TACOMA
Several local bike shops offer group rides. A few options:
Lacey’s Joy Ride Bikes has road rides on Mondays at 6 p.m., mountain bike rides at Capitol Forest on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and gravel rides at 10 a.m. on Sundays. joyridebicycles.com
Employees of Deschutes River Cyclery in Olympia and Tumwater lead beginner and women’s mountain bike rides. Register on their website for details. deschutesrivercyclery.com
BIKE TO MARKET
In May, the South Sound farmers market season kicks into high gear. While the Olympia Farmers Market has been open for a month, the Tacoma Broadway Farmers Market begins Thursday operations next week by encouraging people to visit by bicycle. A bike month table will be set up there with cycling information and a free market token for cyclists. tacomafarmersmarket.com.
You can do it in a pool, and you can do it on a horse. But if you’ve never done it on a bike, May 6 is your chance, of course. The tennis courts at the Portland Avenue Community Center, 3513 Portland Ave. E., Tacoma, is the location for a beginner bike polo event, noon-3 p.m. Tacoma Bike Polo players will teach visitors how to play. Bring a bike and a helmet. Loaner bikes and mallets will be available. bit.ly/2ptAAA8.
BIKE TO SCHOOL/WORK
May 10 is designated National Bike to School Day by the League of American Bicyclists and May 19 is National Bike to Work Day.
Tacoma’s Second Cycle, 1205 Martin Luther King Way, holds its Steel Wheel Poker Alleycat race at 5 p.m. May 12. The informal race is open to all ages who perform tasks at five stops in order to get a playing card. The best hands win prizes. 2ndcycle.org.
For several years, Kidical Mass Tacoma has staged regular short rides for families with young kids. Before the May 13 ride, cyclists will offer tips for cycling with young kids. There will be bikes with kid carriers available to test. The event is at 10 a.m. at Franklin Park, 1201 S. Puget Sound Ave., Tacoma, with a short neighborhood ride planned for 11 a.m. kidicalmasstacoma.blogspot.com
Tour de Donuts is a 25-mile ride that keeps a slow pace (10-12 mph) and visits nine Tacoma doughnut shops. Doughnut medals go to anybody who can finish the ride and the sprinkle doughnuts provided at each stop. The entry fee is $23 ($15 if you don’t want to eat the doughnuts) and check in for the May 14 event starts at 8:15 a.m. at the Narrows Park and Ride, 7201 Sixth Ave., Tacoma. A shirt is included. Registration in advance is required for those who want to eat. twbc.org
In honor of bike month, the Puyallup Watershed Initiative’s active transportation chapter plans to hand out coffee and snacks at 9 a.m., May 20, on the Puyallup Riverwalk Trail. The people behind the coffee pots will be eager to talk about all things cycling and active transportation, including their dream of finishing a trail linking Tacoma and Mount Rainier. You don’t have to be on a bike to participate. bit.ly/2op9BWl.
HILLS IN HEELS
Heels, a bike and a helmet is all that’s needed to participate in the Hills in Heels ride at 2 p.m. on May 21. The ride, sponsored by the Menstrual Cycle 253 and VeloFemmes bike clubs, is a race up a selection of Tacoma’s infamous hills. Both clubs are geared for women. The Menstrual Cycle 253’s Facebook page says it aims to empower women, break taboos surrounding menstruation and raise money to provide feminine hygiene products for local women “who can’t afford access to this basic necessity.” Hills in Heels starts at Second Cycle. bit.ly/2oEC0mc.
PEDAL THURSTON COUNTY
The Capital City Bicycle Club offers three rides per week. The club moved its Tuesday and Thursday evening rides (6 p.m.) to Lions Park, 800 Wilson St., Olympia, so cyclists could better avoid traffic. These are not fast rides (14-16 mph), and according to a club official, they are planned with an emphasis on fun and meeting other cyclists. Rides are typically 15-30 miles and might be canceled by nasty weather. The club also offers fitness rides for self-supporting riders at 10a.m. Sunday mornings departing from Stevenson Custom Bicycles, 3800 Lorne St. SE, Tumwater. capitalbicycleclub.org.
PEDAL PIERCE COUNTY
A family-oriented bike ride designed to inform all ages about the history and environment of Tacoma’ waterfront is 5:15-7 p.m. May 26. The free ride leaves from the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum, 705 Dock St., Tacoma, and riders are encouraged to wear maritime costumes. bit.ly/2pZc8Gu.