Bike to Work Month gets under way in Pocatello
POCATELLO — In keeping with the light-hearted nature of Tuesday’s kickoff event for Bike to Work Month, Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad acknowledged that wet, cold weather didn’t fully cooperate with bicyclists last year, but promised good things for this May.
“It’s going to be a great month,” Blad predicted. “The weather is holding off and it’s going to hold off the rest of the month.”
After his weather prognostication, Blad wearing bicycling gloves and helmet and surrounded by several members of the Pocatello Chiefs, cut the red ribbon in front of the Bannock Planning Organization offices at 210 E. Center St.
Blad was not only fulfilling obligations of his office, but he is also an avid participant in Bike to Work Month. He even completed last year’s challenge to use his bicycle for at least 60 percent of his daily commute to and from work during May.
“I did the challenge last year and I will do the challenge this year,” he said. “Just have to get up a little earlier and will get home a little later. This is a great thing to do just for the exercise, to get in shape and promote good health.”
Connie Doerr, assistant planner for the Bannock Planning Organization, says the turnout for this year’s kickoff event was pretty good. She estimated that more than 40 people braved cool temperatures and slightly windy conditions to pedal their way to her office.
“It’s been pretty steady all morning,” she said. “We’d fill up, they would leave and then some more would come in. I think it was a little higher this year because they knew they would be able to come inside for much of it.”
The Bannock Planning Organization is the area’s Metropolitan Planning Organization and works with the cities of Pocatello and Chubbuck and with Bannock County to plan the area’s long-term transportation goals.
The BPO is also in its sixth year of organizing Bike to Work Month festivities for the area. The monthlong challenge is to bike to work for at least 60 percent of your total commute.
Typically, employers sign up for that and challenge their respective employees to meet that 60 percent goal. Those people who do sign up get a Tshirt and a reflector with a clip that will allow it to hang from several spots on your bike. That reflector also acts as proof you participated in the challenge and gets you discounts at certain retailers around the Portneuf Valley.
Those who actually complete the task of using their bicycle for at least 60 percent of their commute during May will be put into a drawing.
Doerr says she has 260 people already signed up for the challenge. Most will typically sign up during the first week of May, so Doerr is optimistic she will hit her goal of 750 people. That would be a 25 percent increase over the 600 people who took on the challenge a year ago.
“Right now we have 90 businesses signed up,” she said. “That’s more than we had last year. People can also sign up individually.”
The next Bike to Work Month event is the Bike Parade on May 18.
“We want to encourage kids to dress up their bike and dress up themselves for the parade,” Doerr said.
The Bike Parade will be hosted from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Old Town Pavilion, located at the Old Town Pocatello offices at 420 N. Main St. The event is free and all who bring their bikes are welcomed to participate in the parade.
For more information on the BPO’s Bike to Work Month festivities, go to the website at www.pokybiketowork.org , or call the BPO offices at 233-9322.
BY JIMMY HANCOCK