Pushin’ pedal powerFriday is the ideal day to trade car keys for pedal power. From 6:30-8:30 a.m., volunteers are handing out snacks to bicycle commuters at two Superior parks, Heritage Park at 2828 Hammond Ave. and City Center Park at the corner of Tower Avenue and Belknap Street. Free bike safety checks are offered at City Center Park as well during Bike to Work/School Day.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Friday is the ideal day to trade car keys for pedal power.
From 6:30-8:30 a.m., volunteers are handing out snacks to bicycle commuters at two Superior parks, Heritage Park at 2828 Hammond Ave. and City Center Park at the corner of Tower Avenue and Belknap Street. Free bike safety checks are offered at City Center Park as well during Bike to Work/School Day.
“It’s a great way to start a new habit on a day where there is support from the community,” said Sandy Liang, AmericorpsVISTA with the Center for Academic Service Learning at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. In particular, families are encouraged to bike with their children to school.
“Not only is this a fun way to spend time with family, it highlights the importance of working together to celebrate chances to be healthy as a community,” said Liang, a member of the Healthier Douglas County Coalition. “In our fast-paced world, it can be difficult to get the exercise and fresh air we need. Biking to work once in a while instead of driving can give us a chance to have a relaxing commute to work/school.”
Biking also helps conserve gas and makes a positive impact on the environment.
The exact number of people who bike to work or school regularly in the Twin Ports is not known, according to James Gittemeier, senior planner with Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council. But many Superior kids appear to be pedaling to school.
“We have been keeping track of all the bicycles parked at the schools in Superior,” Gittemeier said. “There are about 100 students who bike to the Superior schools combined each day in the fall. They drop off during the winter months, but return once the snow melts.”
This is the fourth year that Bike to Work/School Day has been celebrated in Superior, and the first year that two sites have been set up within the city. Last year, 25 bikers and pedestrians dropped by the Superior commuter station in Center City Park. Biking is on the community radar with new bike lanes planned for Tower Avenue’s reconstruction project and a recent study by UWS students focusing on the feasibility of a Twin Ports water taxi for cyclists and pedestrians.
“‘Bike to Work Day’ is just a start for Superior,” Liang said. “It would be great to see biking as more of the norm. Hopefully, this event drives support for creating a culture where we support active living here in Superior. We want to send the message that, as a community, this is something we think is important.”
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is also encouraging people to use pedal power this week, Bike to Work Week.
Bicyclists of all proficiency levels are encouraged to register with the state’s RIDESHARE “Bike Buddies” program. First-time registrants can receive a free reflective bike band to be worn on the arm or leg. For information, go to www.rideshare.wi.gov.
Whether you register with a partner or not, Friday’s event is all about supporting cyclists.
“Many people live within a bike-able distance from their workplace/school, so this is a great opportunity to just take one day and give it a try,” Liang said. “Hopefully, it becomes something they start to do more often.”