Akron Bike Week puts spotlight on two-wheeled fun
8/21/2008 - West Side Leader
By Kathleen Folkerth
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron’s first-ever Bike Week features more than a dozen events that encourage residents to give their two-wheelers a spin.
Taking place Aug. 22-30, Akron Bike Week will provide cyclists with a variety of activities and opportunities to use their bikes as well as showcase improvements to Akron’s bike-friendliness.
“What we’ve been trying to do is raise the profile of the use of the bicycle in Akron,” said Mark Albrecht, special projects manager in the city of Akron’s economic development office. “It has caught on as a recreation mode, but we also want to see it used as a mode of transportation.”
The city has partnered with The University of Akron (UA), the University Park Alliance, Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, Akron Bicycle Club, Cascade Locks Park Association and the Downtown Akron Partnership to coordinate nine days of bike-centered activities.
Beth Houseman, assistant director of the University Park Alliance, said she hopes participants will get the chance to see what’s been happening around town to make biking a more attractive option for commuters.
“We are promoting it as a way for residents and visitors to University Park, as well as students, to discover how easy it is to use a bike to go to work, school or a movie,” Houseman said.
Recently, the University Park neighborhood saw the installation of “sharrows,” which are symbols painted onto the street to indicate shared roadways for bikes and cars. Houseman said the neighborhood also will see some streets striped with bike lanes while others will be designated as bicycle boulevards. New bike racks also have been installed in the area, she added, and grant money was recently used to purchase bikes for schoolchildren and new homebuyers in the neighborhood.
Houseman said more people are turning to biking as fuel costs hover in the $3-a-gallon range. That means bike proponents are turning a lot of their attention to safety issues and education for cyclists and drivers alike.
“We want to do everything we can to ensure [biking] is done in the safest way possible,” she said.
The week of events will feature bike valets at Lock 3 Park’s Rock the Lock on Aug. 22 and 29 at 7 p.m. and at the Farmer’s Market there Aug. 23 and 30 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The CitiCenter Athletic Club also will host a bike valet Aug. 22 and 26 for Bike to Work Day, as well as free showers.
The week kicks off Aug. 22 at 11 a.m. with the dedication of the new Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath bridge on the Akron Innerbelt at Ash and Quaker streets.
A complete schedule of Akron Bike Week events is available at www.akronbikeinfo.org. Here are some of the highlights:
- Aug. 23: Bike with Summit County Engineer Greg Bachman
beginning at 8 a.m. at Boston Township Hall. At 10 a.m. the Akron
Bicycle Club will host the Tour de Akron, a three-hour trip around the
city that will highlight landmarks, beginning at Hardesty Park.
From noon to 4 p.m. at Lock 3 Park, there will be a BikeEd workshop and ride.
- Aug. 24: The University Park Bicycle Scavenger Hunt begins at University Bike Shop, 160 E. Exchange St., with registration at 1 p.m. Tickets must be purchased by Aug. 23 at the shop for this event, which will have bikers 18 and older travel around town on a quest. The cost is $5.
- Also that day, a Family Bike and Train Ride will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Mustill Store. Participants will board the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train at the Northside Station with their bikes at a cost of $2. They will get off the train at the Botzum Trailhead and ride the 6 miles back.
- Aug 25: From 5 to 9 p.m. in the Gardner Theater at the UA Student Union, free movies will be on the screen. “Breaking Away” is at 5 p.m., followed by “The Yellow Bike Project” at 7 p.m. and “The Bicycle Thief” at 7:15 p.m. Indoor bike valet will be available and bike helmets will be for sale for $7.50.
- Aug. 26: Prepare for Bike to Work Day at the How2Commute workshop at noon in Room 2AB at the Akron-Summit County Main Library. Lunch from Hattie’s Café will be available for $5. Also, The Akron Bicycle Club will host its Tuesday Club Ride in Cuyahoga Valley National Park from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m. Start location is Botzum Trailhead.
- Aug. 27: The Tires and Train Outdoor Adventure Ride, featuring a train ride and bike ride along the Towpath Trail, is open to all and organized by UA Recreation and Wellness Services. Meet at Student Recreation and Wellness Center at 2:30 p.m. Riders must be 18 or older and registered by Aug. 26. The cost is $2 for the train and helmets are mandatory. A limited number of bikes and helmets are available from the Outdoor Adventure Department or you can provide your own. For more information, call (330) 972-8028.
- Aug. 28: UA is hosting Bike to Campus Day. Riders can shower on campus and park their bikes in racks. University Bike Shop will feature a prize wheel.
- Aug. 29: Century Cycles in Peninsula will host its Towpath Night Ride beginning at 8 p.m. Headlights and helmets are required.
- Aug. 30: The UA Bicycle Club Ride will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Ride will leave from the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. Helmets are mandatory for all participants.