May is San Luis Obispo County’s 11th annual Bike Month, a spree of events put on by San Luis Obispo Regional Rideshare to celebrate and encourage cycling in the community.
Rideshare program manager Morgen Marshall said it is important for community members to bike rather than drive to work or school because it reduces traffic congestion, decreases air pollution and lessens wear and tear on the streets.
“There’s health benefits; there’s benefits of engaging with your community,” Marshall said.
More than 30 events are scheduled for Bike Month, all of which will be planned and run by local volunteers.
One notable event is the Commuter Bike Challenge. The countywide contest is between organizations, divided into four categories based on size, to see which can get the most members to record a bike ride on its website.
Participants of the challenge must register by May 6 and will receive a free Bike Month T-shirt. The winning organizations will be recognized with trophies at the Bike Month Blowout June 2 at Creeky Tiki in downtown San Luis Obispo.
Last year, Cal Poly’s information technology department won the Commuter Bike Challenge in the smallest organization category.
Marshall said she is challenging even more Cal Poly students and staff to participate in the contest as well as other Bike Month events this year.
“We would love to see more involvement on the Cal Poly campus,” she said.
Another event is the New Belgium Brewing-sponsored Bike Fest in Arroyo Grande, featuring music and activities at the Branch Street Deli on May 7.
New Belgium Brewing — makers of Fat Tire beer — donated a cruiser bike to be raffled off at Bike Fest. A road bike purchased by Rideshare will also be given away at the Bike Month Blowout.
Tickets for the raffle can be obtained at other Bike Month events and at Bike Fest by parking at the bike valet.
Bike Month events not featured in previous years will include Buy By Bike Day on May 21, during which approximately 20 local businesses give 15 percent discounts to customers with helmets and a Tweed Ride May 15, which calls for participants to wear turn-of-the-century attire.
Construction management senior Scott Allen said San Luis Obispo is a good place to commute by bike because of its reasonable size.
“It’s a small enough town where you can bike from one end to the other,” Allen said. “It’s not a grueling ride just to go to the store or go to campus. You can ride pretty much anywhere within 10 minutes or so.”
It’s also a convenient way to save money.
For social sciences junior Jennifer Stangland, biking to school means not having to buy a parking pass, she said.
“It’s a nice way to get a little exercise at the beginning and end of your school day,” Stangland said. “And it’s fast. I have roommates that have parking passes, and I can leave my house at the same time as them and get to school faster than them because of the traffic and walk from the parking lot.”
Marshall said she is enthusiastic about all the people who turn to biking as a means of transportation in San Luis Obispo.
“I think that we have an amazing and unique bike culture here,” she said. “It’s an amazing model, and I think it works because it’s a unique area.”