The Heights celebrates Bike Month
The Heights will once again be celebrating Bike Month in May, with local events planned to correspond with National Bike Month, established in 1956.
"Biking is on the upswing," said Mary Dunbar, a Cleveland Heights council member and former head of Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC), which plays a major role in organizing Bike Month in Cleveland Heights. "Millennials don't want to own cars and prefer to ride bikes. In addition, 30 percent of Cleveland Heights people who head over to University Circle either walk or ride bikes."
Various activities will take place in and around Cleveland Heights and University Heights throughout the month, including Bike to Work Week and the Ride of Silence—a memorial to honor those injured or killed while riding their bicycles.
Events kick off on May 1 with the University Hospitals Community Bike Fest. The hospital will have booths and offer activities, 6–7 p.m., at 11100 Euclid Ave. A riding event will follow, 7–8:30 p.m. The hospital encourages employees and patients to choose healthier modes of transportation.
On May 6, All Geared Up will take place at Canterbury Elementary School, 9 a.m. to noon. This event includes family bike rides, bike-safety instructions, and free bike helmets while they last. There will also be some adult and children's bikes for sale.
Walk or Bike to School Day is scheduled for May 10. All Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools will take part in this event, as will some private and parochial schools. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that children and adolescents should get 60 or more minutes of exercise each day, and walking or biking to school is a good way to get some of that needed exercise. Research also shows that children who walk or bike to school arrive more ready to sit down and learn than children who get a ride to school.
The Ride of Silence—a worldwide coordinated event—takes place each year on the third Wednesday in May. This year’s ride will be on May 17, and Heights-area bicyclists will depart from the John Carroll University southeast parking lot at 7 p.m.
Bike to Work Day will take place on May 19—the last day of Bike to Work Week, which runs May 15–19. That morning, 7–9 a.m., HBC will provide free coffee and edibles at the corner of Edgehill and Overlook roads.
On May 20, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., HBC and the City of Cleveland Heights will offer a Smart Cycling course for adults and teenagers 14 and older. According to Cleveland Heights Police Chief Annette Mecklenburg, “Bicyclists may think they know what to do, but we see cyclists pedaling the wrong way in traffic and riding without lights at night, for example. We have very few bicycle accidents in the Heights, but we want zero. Every bicyclist, no matter how experienced, should take this class at least once.”
This class will take place at Cleveland Heights City Hall, 40 Severance Circle, and the cost is $10 per individual or family. Class size is limited, and pre-registration is required. Participants should bring a bicycle, helmet and $10 cash to the class. To pre-register, go to the HBC website, http://bikesintheheights.org/, or call Jennifer Kuzma at 216-291-2854.
Bike Month in the Heights wraps up on June 3, with a Bike Tune-Up Day at the Coventry Courtyard on the northwest corner of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard. This free event will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and experts will be on hand to assess bicycles' safety and make minor repairs. This event is first-come, first-served, so attendees are advised to arrive well before 12:30 p.m.
James Henke, a Cleveland Heights resident, was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine for 15 years. He is also the author of several books, including biographies of Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Bob Marley. He is on the board of FutureHeights, and is co-chair of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee.