This May has been another successful Bike Month for us in Columbus, Georgia. This was my first time coordinating it with Bicycle Columbus, and here’s a quick recap of what we accomplished.
Ride With the Mayor
Ride With the Mayor is our big opening event for Bike Month. Having our mayor, Skip Henderson, support us by co-hosting a ride sends a great message to the public about how important bicycles are to our city. Skip and his staff were a pleasure to work with.
Mayor Skip Henderson at Ride With the Mayor.
The ride itself had at least seventy participants. Its five-mile route began and ended downtown, and it led us through a few different districts along the way. This helped show off our new bicycle trail segment along with our city’s diverse neighborhoods.
To promote our local Bike-to-work Day, we set up a station downtown at Iron Bank Coffee with information and refreshments for bike commuters. (Iron Bank Coffee was also featured in my last Coffeeneuring challenge.) We got a few visitors, but stormy weather kept most people away that day.
Ride of Silence
We joined the rest of the world on May 17 with the Ride of Silence, commemorating everyone who has lost their life while cycling. The weather worked against us again with thunderstorms and flash floods raging all afternoon. The sun finally came out about ten minutes before we were scheduled to start, but most potential riders had already made their decision against coming by that point.
We almost called it off, but a handful of dedicated people joined us at the last minute, so we officially had a group ride. The low turnout had one comical effect, which was that our police motorcade was at least twice as big as the group of riders themselves. Everyone on a bicycle that evening felt like royalty with their huge escort.
Midtown Bike Around
This was another family-friendly slow-roll that showed off our Midtown neighborhoods, including another new section of our bike trail. It had a few dozen riders (the kind of turnout we had hoped for Ride of Silence), and everyone had a great time.
I like to think of our Bike Month events as our “greatest hits.” They all enjoy wide support from a diverse public, from dedicated cyclists to families with small children. The rides come with police escorts and, for one event, a partnership with our mayor himself. Most of them also include a sponsorship from a local restaurant where riders can gather.
There’s always room for improvement, though. I would love to see a few kinds of smaller events throughout the month to supplement our “hits.” Bike-to-work Day also always feels like challenge due to how sprawling our city is. But given that Bicycle Columbus has limited bandwidth, I believe that we used our resources quite effectively with the events we hosted.
It was a pleasure to organize and participate in each of these events this year, and I’m looking forward to help iterate on them for 2024!