Bike Month in Princeton Features Activities for Cyclists of All Ages
CHASING GEORGE: Following George Washington’s route to Princeton Battlefield, “Chasing George” and Ciclovia on Quaker Road this Sunday are just two of the many bicycling events taking place in Princeton during National Bike Month. (Sketch Courtesy of the Historical Society of Princeton)
May is National Bike Month, and Princeton is celebrating with an array of biking events.
Mayor Liz Lempert has proclaimed this Friday, May 19, as Bike to Work Day in Princeton, during National Bike to Work Week. Bike to School Days are scheduled on different dates throughout the month.
Princeton’s 7th Annual Wheels Rodeo will take place on Saturday, May 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Community Pool parking lot at 400 Witherspoon Street. The event will feature bike safety checks, free helmets, raffles, and more for bicyclists, skateboarders, and skaters. The rain date is May 21.
On Sunday, May 21, the Historical Society of Princeton will host “Chasing George,” a 10-mile bike ride along the D&R Canal State Park path, following the route that George Washington took on the morning of January 3, 1777 to fight in what became known as the Battle of Princeton. The ride starts at 12:30 p.m. at the Douglass House at Mill Hill Park in Trenton. The Chasing George ride will join Princeton Bicycle Advisory Committee’s (PBAC) Ciclovia 2017 at Quaker Road, which will be closed to cars between 1 and 4 p.m.
Participants can also enjoy special activities at the Historical Society’s Updike Farmstead, like sitting in a Durham boat from Washington Crossing Historic Park, meeting Revolutionary War reenactors, and attending historical talks and displays by area history organizations.
Littlebrook and John Witherspoon Schools celebrated Bike to School Day on May 10, and Johnson Park celebrated on May 16. Riverside’s Bike to School Day is May 23, and Community Park and Princeton High will celebrate on dates to be announced.
In promoting its “Biking: Happy You, Healthy Earth!” campaign, the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (GMTMA) is offering a Bike to Work Employer Team Challenge and a Visions of Bicycling photo contest. The GMTMA website (www.gmtma.org) includes tips for new commuters, and those who register as bike commuters are offered a program for an emergency ride home if a major problem arises on their bike commute.
The PBAC and supporters look forward to seeing planning board approval and implementation of the Bicycle Master Plan in the coming months. Emphasizing the importance of implementing the plan proposals to enhance biking opportunities and the quality of life for the whole town, PBAC chair Janet Heroux said, “This plan is not just for cyclists, but for the benefit of everyone in town.” According to Ms. Heroux, the plan focuses on encouraging the 60 percent of people in Princeton who would like to bike, but find conditions a bit scary with narrow roads, traffic, or other problems.
Ms. Heroux pointed out the need to encourage people to use options other than cars. She added that the Bicycle Master Plan, in the works for more than two years under the guidance of engineering consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff of Lawrenceville through a grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation, “will be beneficial to everyone to improve mobility and promote different modes of travel.”
Noting widespread backing for the plan from the town leadership and the whole community, Ms. Heroux said, “I was gratified by the level of support and all the hard work a lot of community and Council members have put into this.”
In promoting National Bike Month and Bike to Work Week, the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) reported that 40 percent of all trips in the U.S. are less than two miles, which makes bicycling a feasible and fun means of transportation.
“With increased interest in healthy, sustainable, and economic transportation options, it’s not surprising that, from 2000 to 2013, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 62 percent,” reported the LAB.