Thanks to all who participated in recent events to expand bike use and safety in the Middlebury area. Several amazing car-free commuters in our midst are creating more venues for sharing their bike commuting stories and expertise in person and on-line.
Middlebury offered Night Bike Safety Kits to adults who took the Better Bicycling Course led by Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition's Nancy Schulz.
We were taught to wear helmets snugly, ride with traffic, obey traffic laws, look & signal before turns, be visible with bright clothes and reflectors, use lights at night, single up when cars pass, and ride predictably watching for cars.
We shared our bike commuting experiences, including that of Vermont Book Shop's Becky Dayton who guided us in her best practices for changing flats. She also displayed her store's many good bike books which were made available for sale at the course.
Bike Center mechanic Kelly Chamberlain was also on hand to share practical items and tips to improve safe and comfortable bike commuting.
Night Bike Safety Kits were made possible through a Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network grant. Burlington-based Local Motion advised on and ordered its contents which included high quality front and rear lights and reflector vests, leg bands, and tape. Some kits were donated as local prizes to Way to Go! Commuter Challenge participants and advocates as well as for future bike safety events planned for over the summer and for launching Safe Routes to School in the fall.
Riders for the Way to Go! Commuter Challenge Ride pedaled en masse downtown with cargo totes for children and storage bins to announce the challenge.
Thanks to motorists for permitting their short passage during the peak commuter hour by sharing the road. Vermont law gives bicyclists the rights and responsibilities of vehicles.
Thanks to all who considered alternatives to single vehicle use (such as biking, busing, walking, carpooling or telecommuting) during the rainy week of the Way to Go! Commuter Challenge every spring-may your efforts pay off in improved savings and health for yourself, family, and Middlebury's effort to reduce the 46 percent of its carbon footprint attributed to transportation by 10 percent by 2012.
Middlebury's Bike Rodeo drew nearly 100 participants despite rain.
Children could request free helmets fitted by Mary Gill and Chris Robbins, get their bikes checked by Bike Center mechanic Kelly Chamberlain and Skihaus mechanic Carl Robinson who volunteered their time, and ride through an obstable course to test their navigation skills and rules of the road.
Thanks to Champlain Valley Orchards, Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op and Middlebury Bagel and Deli for donating provisions for Middlebury's bike events above.
Thanks to Middlebury Union High School's Dottie Nelson for recruiting the six wonderful high school volunteers who helped set up and staff the rodeo (Isaac Supernovich, Yvette Toledano, Jessica Aubin, Devin Lussier, Maddy Sanchez, and Gabrielle Ingenthron).
Thanks to my daughter Johannah Schneider, too, who brought our dog Abby to teach how to deal with dogs.
Thanks to Mary Hogan School and Town of Middlebury Energy Committee for sponsoring.
Look for bike safety updates around town, especially at the Bike Center and Skihaus and online, especially at bikeclub.org, VehiculessinVermont.com, and BikeVermont.com.
Information on safe biking and current rules of the road are available at Middlebury's Town Office, Ilsley Library and several downtown shops.