Bike Month

May is Bike Month. Image courtesy of the League of American Bicyclists

To celebrate the official kickoff of bicycle season in Colorado, Bicycle Colorado held its Gala 2016 fundraiser Friday night. The group uses money it raises partly for education and advocacy to make Colorado one of the safest and most bicycle-friendly states in the United States.

The start of bicycle season in Colorado coincides with the May 1 start of National Bike Month, which is sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists.

According to a report based on data from the Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey, Denver was 11th on its list of the 24 U.S. cities with the highest number of bicyclists riding on their streets. For its 2014 population of 663,862, Denver had 8,848 bike commuters, or 2.5%. (New York was No. 1 on the list, with 42,806 bike commuters, or 1.1 percent of its 2014 population of 8,491,079.)

Among the top 10, Portland, Oregon, No. 3, had the highest percentage of bike commuters. Its 23,347 commuters made up 7.2% of its 2014 population of 619,445. In addition to Denver, one other Colorado city appears on the 2014 list, Fort Collins, with 5,075 riders, or 6.2% of its 156,473 population in 2014, commuting by bike.

The number of bike commuters in Denver grew by 188.7% between 1990 and 2014, and 161.7% from 2000 to 2014. (In the report, Denver ranked 13th in a list of the top 50 large U.S. cities where bike commuting is growing the fastest.)

The report lists Boulder and Fort Collins, Colorado, as Nos. 3 and 8, respectively, on its list of the 20 cities with the highest share of bicyclists. Boulder had 8.9% of its 2014 population of 105,101 commuting by bike; and Fort Collins had 6.2% of its 156,473 2014 population as bike commuters.

Tips for Cyclists

The League of American Bicyclists offers the following safety tips for bicyclists, reminding them to do an ABC QUICK CHECK:

  • A Is for Air: Make sure a bike’s tires are inflated to the correct pressure, which is listed on the side of the tire. The League suggests you use a pressure gauge to make sure the tires are inflated to the right pressure. Also, be sure to inspect your tires for damage, and get new ones if necessary.
  • B Is for Brakes: Check your brake pads for wear. They need to be replaced if there is less than a quarter-inch left of the brake pads. Make sure the pads are in place. They should not be rubbing against the tire. And make sure you can place your thumb “between the brake lever handlebar” when you have squeezed the brakes as far as possible.
  • C Is for Cranks and Chain: To test, pull the cranks away from the bicycle. You will need to tighten the bolts if they are loose. Also, make sure the chain is free of “rust and gunk.”
  • Quick Is for Quick Releases: Make sure they’re all closed. To make sure they don’t get caught on anything, see that they are all pointing to the bike’s rear. 
  • Check Is for Check It Over: Finally, check that all is working by taking a quick ride.

The Right Gear

In addition, a bicyclist should wear a well-fitting helmet, tight-fitting clothes, and bike shorts and layers in cold weather, along with gloves and ear warmers. For safety, especially in rain and at night, wear bright colors and reflective gear, and in rainy weather, also wear waterproof clothing.