Free tune-ups on the engineering quad last year

In C-U and across the US, May is Bike Month. Join Neutral Cycle and other community organizations in celebrating, promoting, and learning about cycling!

May is National Bike Month and C-U has no shortage of events to celebrate cycling in our community. First held in 1956, Bike Month allows cyclists to come together, promote cycling, and connect with their neighbors. We’ve put together a list of some of the highlights of National Bike Month here in C-U. Order is based on date. For a complete listing of what’s going on, check out the C-U Bike Month 2016 website and like their Facebook page.

All month long C-U Bike Month be working to raise money to buy a fleet of special bikes to be used for youth bicycle education in the Champaign-Urbana community, so be sure to donate some money—if you can—when you register for events. You can also donate without registering on the Champaign County Bikes website. Last year they were able to raise over $11,000 to go towards the Kickapoo Rail Trail project.

1. Pump You up in the Park!  May 1, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Haven’t used your bike since before winter? A year ago? Longer than that? Start bike month by making sure your bike is in safe, working order. Bring your bikes to parks located all around C-U and volunteers will help to inflate your tires, adjust your seat, and do an A-B-C quick check.

This event will be hosted at three parks: Robeson Park in Champaign, Meadowbrook Park in Urbana (west entrance off of Race Street), and Prairie Fields Park in Savoy. Around 3:30, there will likely be a few family-friendly bike rides around the neighborhood happening.

If you’re an old pro at biking, consider helping by checking out your neighbors’ bikes. You can register online here.

2. Bike to Work Day May 3, 7-10 a.m.

Bike to Work Day is the cornerstone of Bike Month. Bike to Work day isn’t just about biking to work once, it’s about demonstrating that that bikes are a viable form of transportation that can, in many ways, rival cars. This year will mark the 7th annual Bike to Work Day in C-U.

There will be nine stations located around the C-U area where residents can stop by and chat or get a quick tune-up. If you can, register to let them know that you’ll be coming by.

3. Bike to School Day May 4, 7:30-8:30 a.m.

Bike to School Day is the kid-friendly version of Bike to Work Day, intended to show that children too can be part of creating a more sustainable, healthy society. Volunteers from the event’s sponsors, Champaign County Bikes and C-U Safe Routes to School, will be at various area schools to greet kids who are biking to school. Register online and your child will receive a free t-shirt!

4. Bike to Market Days May 7, 14, 21, and 28 in Urbana; May 10 and 17 in Champaign

Can you beat heading out with your bike on a cool Saturday morning? What about when you know that on the way back your bike will be laden with fresh, local fruits and veggies? Join us with your velocipede for the first few farmer’s markets of the year! Like other events, Bike to Market Days are designed to help us to show others and ourselves that bikes can be used for regular, day-to-day transportation.

Each Saturday this month there will be a Bike Month booth at the Urbana Farmer’s Market from 7-noon. And each Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. they’ll be at the Champaign Farmer’s Market. They’ll have bike maps and other educational materials, but you can always stop by just to say hi. Be sure to register online if you know you’ll be coming! 

5. Community Used Bike Sale  May 7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

If you need a bike, this is the time to get it. If you have an old bike, this is the time to donate it. All the proceeds will go towards the Kickapoo Rail Trail. The K.R.T. is happening, that’s for sure, but the sooner it gets funded, the sooner it will be completed. Last year’s bike sale raised $6,000 for the trail.

The sale will happen on the 7th at Champaign Cycle and donations (tax-deductible, of course!) will be accepted through May 4th. You can keep up to 80% of the proceeds of your sold bike, or donate all of it to the Rail Trail!

6. Yelp Tour of Neutral Cycle May 10, 3 p.m.

Want to go on a tour of Neutral Cycle, learn the basics of bike maintenance, and potentially win a prize? If so, come by our shop for a Yelp Community Event. Afterwards, we’ll all bike to the Champaign Farmer’s Market and we’ll help you get your bikes in tip-top shape.

7. Pop-up Bike From Work Stations  May 10, 17, 24

The first three Tuesdays after Bike to Work Day, there’ll be pop-up Work Stations at different venues throughout C-U:

8. The Amazing Bike Race May 14, 9 a.m.

Champaign Park District is organizing an amazing bike race called The Amazing Bike Race. Teams of 2-4 participants will race 8-10 miles through Champaign working to solve clues to arrive at the next checkpoint. The first three teams to finish will be awarded prizes.

9. Tour de Fruit, Round I  May 28, 3-5 p.m.

Go on a cycling tour of C-U while foraging for wild fruit, courtesy of Neutral Cycle. This event is designed to help people to learn how they can use bikes to connect with their local environment. Read more about a past version of this event here. We’ll be holding another event in the fall, so keep an eye out for that, too!

10. Bike Movie Night: Bikes vs. Cars May 31

Celebrate the end of a successful Bike Month with a movie night and an awards ceremony. Details are forthcoming, but it’s definitely going to be held at the Art Theater.


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