Sacramento is not the only US city to organize cycling promotions during the month of May, but the local May Is Bike Month initiative has become one of the most successful and widely-observed city programs in the nation since its inception. Thousands of cyclists participate and attend cycling-themed celebrations and events throughout the month, often logging their accumulated mileage on the website.
This year, May Is Bike Month coincided with the return of Bicycle Film Festival to Sacramento, as well as two local stages of the Amgen Tour of California. On the 12th May, the cycling art and culture showcase came to downtown, bringing a selection of films and events. Then, on the 16th, the second official stage (but the first actual race) of the tour finished in Sacramento after a last-minute change to the start. The following day, the peloton rode through Folsom on its way to Modesto.
The success of this year’s May Is Bike Month can be measured in terms of distance traveled. The website – which encourages riders to sign up and log their accumulated miles for the month – this year set a target of 1,000,000 miles before pledges came in which took the total target to 1,474,970. As of 10am Tuesday morning, with fourteen hours to go, the total accumulated miles for May stood at 1,245,229. Many riders may not have visited the website in order to input their personal mileage, so despite the shortfall, the target could easily still be reached. Logging remains open until Friday, June 3rd.
6,717 cyclists from the Sacramento area participated in the website mile-log, with several individuals racking up over 2,000 miles each – around 65 miles everyday – an impressive achievement when you consider the weather, which has brought some of the wettest and coolest conditions on record for the month.
The biggest upset caused by the inclement weather was the last-minute cancellation of the first stage of the Tour of California due to snowfall and freezing temperatures in Lake Tahoe. The poor weather followed the pro cyclists for several days before a brief period of high pressure brought back the usual California conditions. Since then, the Sacramento area has suffered further storms, heavy rain and wind. Forecasts predict clouds and rain showers well into June, before the long-awaited return of sunny, 80F days.
This year’s May Is Bike Month appears to continue the happy trend for more cycling-related events in Sacramento over the previous year. As greater numbers of locals reach for their bike instead of their car-keys, the region grows more healthy and more bike-friendly: a win-win situation.