By MARIAH CRESSY
Have you heard the news? RacePlayMichiana has a new feature. If you haven’t checked out our Group Therapy page yet, it’s a must read. It’s full of free or low-cost groups getting together around Michiana to get moving! On the list, we’ve included all kinds of communities in case any Michiana-ganda-oosiers (what is our collective name, anyway?)/RPM readers want to join in on the fun.
Here, on In Motion with RacePlayMichiana, we’re adding something new and different to our monthly content, too. Every month, we’ll feature a new Michiana group from Group Therapy that’s getting out and being active. So each month, you can expect a little peak into their community’s world.
For this month (National Bike Month, est. in 1956!), we got the inside scoop on Bike Michiana Coalition and their May 7th event, the second annual Mayors’ Ride (more details below!). BMC’s board member, Karen Haun gave me all the deets about the event and the coalition.
Bike Michiana Coalition — Group Profile
Bike Michiana Coalition was established in 2008 as a local non-profit bicycle-advocacy organization. In short, they aim to establish a bicycle-friendly community through the primary goals of facilitating communication between other bicycle groups, as well as advocating action and education in the community.
Their list of accomplishments since 2008 is quite extensive, but here are a few highlights:
- Teach bike safety classes to 3rd graders at public schools in the area
- Equip kids with helmets for the 2017 Major Taylor Bike Ride, starting from Charles Black Recreation Center
- Host Bike to Work Week (since 2007), Bike Michiana for Hospice, and the annual Mayors’ Ride
- Introduced the 3 Foot Passing Law, Bill 13-12, to the South Bend Common Council (which was passed as of 2013!)
- Financially supported the building and maintenance of Granger Paths, Indiana-Michigan Trail, Pumpkin Vine Trail, and MMC/MBA Bicycle Safety Program
- Earned a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community ranking from The League of American Bicyclists. Here’s a peak at South Bend’s report card and how we can improve to Silver status.
And BMC has a few projects in the works for this special biking month, too.
BMC’s Projects for May 2017
St. Joseph County Parks, “Give Local” Matched Pledge
BMC has pledged to match up to $15,000 of whatever the St. Joseph County Parks is able to raise within the 24-hour giving spree of May 9, Give Local Day. If all goes as BMC hopes, St. Joe County will be able to fill the final gaps between Mishawaka to Niles, completing a 34-mile-long Indiana-Michigan River Valley Trail.¹
Michiana Bike to Work Week 2017 — May 14–20
National Bike to Work Week takes place this year on Sunday, May 14th through Saturday, May 20th. BMC has organized local events for Bike to Work Week since its creation.
BMC’s mission in hosting this week?
“To get people to use other transportation than their car,” Karen Haun said. “Most car rides are only a mile or two, so people could easily ride their bike. I think it’s more about health and exercise. Cycling is a great thing you can do until you’re well into your 80’s and beyond…A lot of people think, ‘I can’t do this,’ but they can! My commute was 10 miles each way, and I love it. I still bike to work.”
Companies can participate by signing up for a team, on the Michiana Bike to Work Week website and recording their miles.
“We don’t care if it’s a team of one or 20,” said Karen. “We just want people to get out on their bikes. And they can record their miles year-round, if they want to.”
Karen broke down the week’s upcoming highlights:
- May 15, 6 p.m. — Starting from The Brick, the Michiana Bicycle Association ride will take off (after munching on some eats from food trucks)
- May 16, 7–9 a.m. — Organic blueberry pancake breakfast at LaSalle Grill, sponsored by 1st Source Bank and Lasalle Grill
- May 19, 6:30 p.m. — Viewing of One Day in April, a Little 500 Documentary, taking place within the WNIT building
Karen said it’s likely they’ll have more biking trips during the week, so check back on the official website leading up to that week.
And of course, they’re hard at work putting together May 7th’s Mayors’ Ride.
Mayors’ Ride 2017 Details — Sunday, May 7, 2017, 8 a.m.–12 p.m.
Bike Michiana Coalition, in partnership with Visit South Bend Mishawaka, is hosting the Mayors’ Ride for the second consecutive year on May 7. The ride will begin at three different locations:
- The Red Barn at St. Patrick’s County
- Howard Park, South Bend
- Central Park, Mishawaka
Riders can bike for as long as they choose; if bikers stop at all three locations and ride back to the start, Karen estimates the total ride is about 24 miles. Here’s a map of the route and stops from the official Mayors’ Ride website:
The Mayors’ Ride is a chance for locals to get out and enjoy South Bend’s, Mishawaka’s, and St. Joseph County’s connected bike paths.
The ride is completely free and fun for the whole family, no matter age or skill level. You can also choose to make a donation of $10 online or at the event, which will go toward BMC’s education initiatives.
Every participant must complete a waiver, which can be downloaded here.
What a wonderful opportunity to get outside and enjoy a nice Sunday ride alongside Mayors Pete Buttigieg and Dave Wood! And a chance to support Bike Michiana Coalition’s mission? It’s a win-win.
Interested in sponsoring the In Motion with RacePlayMichiana blog? We’d love to share our data and talk about how we can help get your company’s name out to our highly targeted group of active and community-involved readers.
Writer’s Note: All images in this post were used with permission from Bike Michiana Coalition; copyright for included images does not belong to RacePlayMichiana.