May is National Bike Month, and Los Angeles will have its very own, concentrated dose of bicycle power during this year's L.A. Bike Week. Sponsored by the Metro, L.A. County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), and other groups, Bike Week will run from May 13th to May 19th and feature a mix of activities and bicycle advocacy.
"The goal of Bike Week and Bike to Work Day is to encourage people who may not have tried biking to work to do it," Colin Bogart, LACBC Education Director, said. "The ultimate goal is that they'll find it enjoyable and continue to [bike commute] at least part time."
Bike Week kicks off with Fix Your Bike Day on Monday, May 13th. Biking novices and experienced cyclists alike can learn how to fix their bicycles at bike repair workshops all around Los Angeles.
On Tuesday, May 14th, Good Samaritan Hospital will hold the tenth annual Blessing of the Bicycles, a non-denominational event featuring clergy from multiple faiths. Rev. Jerry Anderson, an Episcopal priest and the Director of Pastoral Care at Good Samaritan Hospital, will lead a prayer for cyclists injured and killed in accidents. If you have a name you'd like Rev. Anderson to read, you can submit a prayer online ahead of time here or just shout it out during the service. Rev. Anderson will also bless cyclists with water he's blessed.
Visitors to the event will be able to get a free bike check-up, which, if your bike has been sitting in the garage for a long time, might be necessary. A bike check-up "comes down to things like making sure that the brakes are in working condition and there's nothing on the bike that's dangerously loose," Bogart said.
On Wednesday, May 15th, LACBC and other groups will lead guided rides all over L.A. County. That day will also see the tenth annual Ride of Silence, a global event that honors cyclists injured and killed on the road. LACBC's San Fernando Valley chapter will hold a ride honoring the memory of David Granados, a high school senior killed in a hit and run accident while riding in Valley Village earlier this spring.
Metro's Bike to Work Day will take place on Thursday, May 16th. Bike commuters can get water, snacks, and other cool giveaways at pit stops all over the L.A. area. Metro and other L.A. County transportation agencies will offer free rides to bicyclists boarding with a bicycle and helmet. All Metro busses have front-mounted bike racks, and bicycles are allowed on Metro trains at all times.
The average L.A. resident commutes 28.1 miles each way, and public transportation only covers a fraction of the Los Angeles region's urban sprawl. Bikes offer a first mile and last mile solution for many commuters. "If you combine biking for the first and last mile of the trip, and then you connect with public transit," said Dave Sotero, Metro Communications Manager, "you're able to leave the car in the driveway and save money on gasoline, reduce the wear and tear on your vehicle, and do something good for the environment."
Bike Week will wrap up with Bike Local Weekend from May 17th through May 19th. Metro ran a similar program during Carmageddon Two, offering Angelenos a discount at local businesses as an incentive to not contribute to freeway congestion during the 405 closure. Bike Local Weekend is a new addition to Bike Week LA this year, and over 60 local businesses will offer discounts to cyclists. "It made perfect sense to pursue that sort of destination discount for Bike Week LA," Sotero said, "because we are still encouraging the public to explore local destinations by alternate modes [of transportation]."