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Bicycle Ambassador Program

No Badge of Courage Needed

By Kim Sharpe

Are you part of the 60 percent? That’s the portion of people in our community who are” interested, but concerned” when it comes to riding a bicycle—those who may feel riding a bike requires a badge of courage. If this resonates with you, I hope to change that perception.

The City of Fort Collins FC Bikes program, our local Safe Routes to School program, other member organizations of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Education Coalition (www.bicycleambassadorprogram.org/bpec) and Bicycle Ambassadors, partner to provide education about how people of all ages and abilities can ride safely. With June coming up, the month when the state of Colorado celebrates Bike Month, it’s the perfect time to give bicycling a try. Many events will be held throughout the summer to encourage people to bicycle for transportation, experience the benefits of riding a bike, highlight Fort Collins’ extensive bike routes, and demonstrate that bicycling is an easy, fun and healthy means of traveling around the city.

On Monday, June 2, FC Bikes is hosting a Bike Month Kickoff Ride. Participants will leave at 5pm from Oak Street Plaza for a ride that will feature the Mason Corridor. Women can learn how to ride a bike during a Learn 2 Ride Class on June 14, 10 a.m.-12 noon; registration is required, but there’s no charge to take the class. Summer Bike to Work Day will be held on Wednesday, June 25, 6:30-9:30 a.m. with breakfast stations located all around town. People who know how to ride a bike but want to gain confidence riding on streets can register for a Traffic Skills 101 class schedule for Saturday, July 12, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Again, registration is required (sign up at http://www.fcgov.com/bicycling/), but there’s no charge for the class and it includes lunch.

Another exciting concept FC Bikes is bringing to our fine City this year is that of “Open Streets.” Open Streets initiatives temporarily close streets to automobile traffic so people may use them for walking, bicycling, dancing, playing and socializing. It’s a fun way to increase active transportation and promote physical activity and social health. Fort Collins residents will be invited to “play in the streets” on two dates in upcoming weeks. On Sunday, July 20, segments of Laurel and Whedbee Streets will be closed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A portion of W. Elizabeth St. will be closed on Sunday, September 14, 10 a.m. to 3p.m. More information about Open Streets can be found online at www.fcgov.com/bicycling/openstreets.

And on Thursday evenings, 5:30-7:30 p.m., from now through fall, women can enjoy casual bike rides together that will take them in and around Fort Collins. Specific routes for “Ride, Sally Rides” are determined by each week’s volunteer leader, and range in difficulty and style—from social rides to fitness rides, and from road to trail to dirt. Learn more at www.bicycleambassadorprogram.org/calendar or email RideSallyRideFoCo@gmail.com.

I encourage you to participate in one or more of these fun events so you can experience the freedom bicycling can provide. The time is now to put your best pedal forward. Ride on!

Kim Sharpe is a League of American Bicyclists certified instructor and a Bicycle Ambassador.

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