Bike Month Recap
May was a crazy, busy month, but Newark's celebration of Bike Month was a great success! Read more for details and a few snapshots. Thank you to all who participated!
Second Annual Mayor’s Fun Ride
The 2016 Mayor's Fun Ride was a great day for bicycling in Newark. Taking place on April 30, the event had 125 people participate in the rides and raised over $12,000 for bicycling initiatives in Newark. Two rides were held - a 2.5-mile “Family Fun Ride” and a scenic 8.5-mile “Newark Loop Fun Ride.” Additionally, the event featured live music, a children's helmet decorating table, free helmets and basic bike tune-ups, a bike skills course and information on bicycle safety. The Mayor's Fun Ride is a non-timed, non-race event that showcases local bicycling as a great way to get around Newark, promotes physical activity and helps spread the word about bicycle safety and rules of the road.
Bike to School Day
On May 10, parents and students participated in Downes Elementary School First Annual Bike to School Day in celebration of Bike Month. Organized by the Newark Bicycle Committee and the Wilmapco Safe Routes to School Program, the purpose of the event was to encourage physical activity, offer the opportunity for students and parents to practice bicycle and pedestrian safety skills; and reduce pollution, traffic congestion, and speeding near the school. Mayor Polly Sierer greeted parents and students with fun giveaway items and read a Proclamation of Bike and Walk to School Day over the school’s PA. The well-attended event kicked off the school’s Biking Tuesday program, where students are encouraged to bike (and walk) to school. This effort builds on the established Walking Wednesdays program, aimed at lowering childhood obesity rates and improving the transportation and natural environment conditions around the school. For more information, visit www.wilmapco.org/saferoutestoschool
Bike Basics in a Minute!
On May 12, the NBC in collaboration with UD, DelDOT, the Newark Bike Project, White Clay Bicycle Club and Newark Police set up posters, a free bike tune-up stand, bike skills course and a lot more in front of Memorial Hall to give UD students an opportunity to learn about riding safely around campus and town. This event engaged over 100 students, and we plan to build on this first experience to offer similar opportunities to inform students about safe biking practices.
Bike to Work Day
The weather was beautiful on the morning of May 20, as close to 100 participants gathered at Mentors’ Circle on the University of Delaware campus for Newark’s observance of National Bike to Work Day. Six organized “bike trains” arrived around 7:30 a.m. from radial points in Newark. Just after 8:00 a.m., a large contingent from Bloom Energy arrived. Others had cycled in separately, and all enjoyed the good food provided by area businesses and networking with other commuters.
Newark Bicycle Committee chair Mark Deshon thanked the individuals, partner organizations, and sponsors for helping the committee put on this event. He especially recognized committee member Mike Fortner for his role as event coordinator for the third straight year.
Deshon then handed over the mic to the morning’s speakers.
UD Provost Domenico Grasso welcomed all on behalf of UD—the host institution—and gave his own spin on bicycling, citing his wife, committee member Susan Hull Grasso, for being the “real” cyclist in their family. Deshon echoed this sentiment and thanked him for bringing Susan down here from Vermont and into such an active role on our committee.
City Manager Carol Houck spoke of the important transportation projects in the works within the city, including a two-way protected lane for most of the length of Delaware Avenue and the task force of stakeholders that is currently working with the city to help recommend design revisions to DelDOT in preparation for its repaving of the entire Cleveland Avenue corridor. She also mentioned her desire to see the city move from a “bronze” level Bicycle Friendly Community designation by the League of American Bicyclists to “silver.”
State Sen. Dave Sokola, a serious cyclist in his own right, and State Rep. Paul Baumbach, a recreational cyclist and staunch supporter, each said a few words on behalf of the groups that are together making a difference for bicycling in Newark.
Deshon was then joined at the podium by Fortner, who announced the winner of this year’s Bicycle-Friendly Leader Award—Charlie Emerson, who recently retired as the head of the City of Newark Department of Parks & Recreation. Emerson, during his tenure, was primarily responsible for the creation of the popular multi-use Hall and Pomeroy trails, among other project accomplishments. Emerson thanked everyone for the honor.
The main proceedings ended with eight random giveaways and a group photo with more than 80 participants on the steps of Hullihen Hall before most everyone headed off to work—by bike.