The perfect excuse to pedal together

By Suzanne Day

Spring is here and the weather is perfect for getting around on two wheels. April is Valley Bike Month and Valley Metro is proud to co-sponsor this month-long focus on bicycling as a safe, inexpensive and healthy travel method. The abundance of Valley wide activities is a far cry from its modest inception.
Valley Bike Month started as a single Bike to Work Day event in the late 1980s. With support of Valley employers, cities and towns, it soon transformed to a week and, by 2005, it had evolved into a month-long bicycle celebration. Every year, the number of participating cities and events grow.
Valley Bike Month is a regional effort of cities, towns, employers and community organizations. Private and public partners join to plan events Valley wide. This year, there will be nearly 20 events held throughout the Valley aimed at educating families on the benefits of bicycling. Whether it is a way to get from point A to point B, or a relaxing ride around the neighborhood with the family, bicycling is healthy and pollution-free.
More Valley residents are catching on to the benefits of cycling, finding out for themselves how it reduces stress while adding valuable family time. With Arizona’s inviting spring weather, many of us will find ourselves searching for a reason to be outside. Valley Bike Month is the perfect excuse for getting family and friends together.
For more on Valley Bike Month, visit Find a bike buddy, learn about events, ride your bike to a Valley business offering discounts in April, track your bike trips to enter contests and win great prizes.

Suzanne Day is with Valley Metro Commute Solutions and the Coordinator for 
Valley Bike Month.

Bike Safely!

Children ages 5 to 14 get hurt more often than bikers of any other age. Every day, about 1,000 kids end up in hospital emergency rooms with injuries from bicycles. About one child every day dies of these injuries. Others suffer lifetime problems, like limping or even brain damage. To reduce the risk of injury, follow these precautions:
• Choose helmets that meets safety standards, fit you/your child properly, are worn correctly at ALL TIMES.
• Make sure helmet fits you.
• Make sure the bicycle fits your child. If it is too large, it will be difficult for them to control.
• Teach your children to stop and look Left-Right-Left before crossing the street, and cross only at the corners, not mid-block.
• Kids 10 and younger should ride on the sidewalks whenever possible.
• Let your child know the safe places they can ride such as parks, bike trails and sidewalks.
• Always ride on the right side of the street in the same direction as the traffic. Never ride against traffic.
• If you’re cycling with friends, ride single file.
• Never at night or with headphones.
• Never let your child give someone a ride on his/her bike, period. This includes on the handlebars or standing on the back wheel pegs.

Courtesy of Tracey Fejt, RN at Banner Children’s at Cardon Children’s Medical Center

Family Friendly Bike Locations

Reach 11 Recreation Areas – North Phoenix/North Scottsdale area. Deer Valley and Care Creek Road to Scottsdale to Frank Lloyd Wright »Mountain/Hybrid
Green Belt on Hayden – Scottsdale/Tempe. Follows Hayden from Indian Bend Road to Tempe Town Lake »Kid/Mountain/Hybrid
Gray Belt on 51 – North Phoenix/Paradise Valley. Follows the 51 from Union Hills to Shea »Kid/Mountain/Hybrid
Arizona Canal – Glendale/Phoenix/Paradise Valley/Scottsdale. Runs along canal from Bell and 75th to Pima and Indian Bend »Kid/Mountain/Hybrid
Brown’s Ranch at McDowell Sonoran Conservatory – Scottsdale. Trailhead starts at Alma School and Dynamite »Kid/Mountain/Hybrid
Phoenix Sonoran Preserve – North Phoenix/Cave Creek. Carefree Hwy between I17 and Cave Creek Road »Mountain/Hybrid
Consolidated Canal – Mesa/Gilbert/Chandler. Runs along the canal from Country Club and Brown to Riggs Road »Kid/Mountain/Hybrid
Valley Communities with Bike Lanes for Road Biking: Anthem • Chandler 
• Estrella • Fountain Hills • Gilbert 
• Goodyear • Litchfield • North Phoenix along Nortera Parkway • Scottsdale along Cave Creek Road, Scottsdale Road, Tatum and Pima

Top picks provided by Sunday Cycles Bike Shop. For more information and a free detailed map visit them at 10880 N. 32nd St., Phoenix or