May is "National Bike Month," and there's a big celebration happening in Rhode Island. And why not, with arrival of full spring, it's a time that many of us get on a bike and savor the season and the sites. Indeed, many people feel spring is best enjoyed at the speed of a bicycle. And while any month is fine for using this healthy, environmentally sound, money-saving form of travel, the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition has developed quite a calendar of events in May.

The month starts with a kick-off on Sunday May 1st with a family friendly ride with Governor Raimondo and her family. Other events planned include:

  • a bike-to-school day in Smithfield;
  • bike the Night on May 5, expected to be led by Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza;
  • several Women Bike RI bike-to-breakfast rides on Friday mornings;
  • bike tours of historical sites in Providence with the Providence Preservation Society, planned for May 7 and 14;
  • an H. P. Lovecraft ride to haunted sites in Providence on Friday, May 13;
  • an East Coast Greenway ride planned for May 15;
  • Bike to Work Day celebrated in Newport, Providence, and elsewhere across the state on Friday May 20, which emphasizes that biking is not just enjoyable recreation but also a practical, economic, and healthy way to commute.
  • "Bikefest," a festival to be held at the Providence Met School on Public Street on May 21. Bike-related vendors will display the latest, and don't miss the second annual Pie Joust at noon!
  • Discussions of bike related issues in Rhode Island at Rochambeau Library in Providence on May 2, Mohr Library in Johnston on May 16, and at AS220 on May 4 and May 27;
  • the regular RI Bike Coalition monthly meeting (over pizza!) on May 9 where all are welcome.

Issues the RI Bike Coalition is working on include highway safety legislation, passing a "green economy bond" which would include money to finish and connect our bikeways, bike safety education, the 6-10 connector, on-road signage, and passing a propsed "green economy bond" which would include funds to finish and connect our bike paths. The latter includes the Blackstone and South County bikeways which can help to promote our tourism industry by connecting sites in the new national park in the Blackstone Valley, the latter by taking bicyclists all the way to the beach in Narragansett.

For info on all this and more, including locations, times, and a final schedule, please visit www.ribike.org/bikemonth, call (401) 297-2153, or send me an e-mail, [email protected] - I know RIBike and its partners welcome participation, but even more important, we recommend enjoying a ride, especially on one of Rhode Island's highly scenic and enjoyable bike paths.

Barry Schiller is a member of the Board of the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition.