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Letter to the editor: Thank you, sponsors, for helping celebrate National Bike Month

Thursday, June 20, 2013 - 12:01 am

We join in thanking the many sponsors and thousands of participants and volunteers who made the celebration of National Bike Month in Northeast Indiana a rousing success.

This past month of May, more residents and visitors than ever took to the streets and trails with their bicycles in National Bike Month events. Our kickoff was the 2013 Inaugural Trek the Trails trail ride at Salomon Farm on May 7, organized by the City of Fort Wayne and Fort Wayne Trails, In (www.fwtrails.org). A record number of cyclists participated and were inspired to join the Trek the Trails rides every Tuesday evening all summer long.

Next was the Memorial Ride of Silence organized by Bicycle Friendly Fort Wayne on a beautiful Wednesday evening on May 15. It was later followed by a record celebration of Bike to Work Day organized by the City of Fort Wayne at Headwaters Park on May 17.

This year, Cinema Center got in on the act, sponsoring Bike Movie Night on Friday, May 24. Moviegoers were encouraged to bike to the movie, take advantage of bike valet service and enjoy a showing of the classic bicycle movie, “Breaking Away.”

National Bike Month concluded with the Spring Cycle event organized by Fort4Fitness, Inc. (www.fort4fitness.org) on Saturday, May 25. More than a thousand bicyclists assembled in downtown for the start of a grand bicycle tour through Fort Wayne and Allen County, and then enjoyed watching hundreds of criterium racers from all over the Midwest compete in the Twilight Criterium.

All in all, it was a month-long celebration of our bicycle-friendly city and the benefits that bicycling can deliver to our community. Bicycling is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the United States. Regular use of a bicycle promotes healthier weight, blood pressure and insulin levels and can be one of the best ways to forge an active and healthy lifestyle.

Americans are demanding more and better bicycle infrastructure in their communities. Cities and regions with well-developed bicycle infrastructure have increased property values, are more attractive for economic development and tend to attract higher paying jobs. The bicycle may seem like a simple device, but, as you see, it can unlock a better future for our community in terms of both physical fitness and economic opportunity. And, it can reduce the number of automobile trips, reducing oil consumption and wear and tear on roads.

We pledge to continue to develop Fort Wayne, Allen County and Northeast Indiana as a bicycle-friendly community throughout the year and we look forward to an even bigger and better celebration in May of 2014.

Thank you again, and congratulations to all of the sponsors, participants and volunteers who made National Bike Month a fantastic success this year.

Amy Hartzog, City of Fort Wayne, Lori Keys, Fort Wayne Tails, Inc., Jon Bomberger, Fort4Fitness, Inc.