Cycling community events can be rides or happenings that are organized to promote the use of bicycles or these events can be traditional community activities that are transformed into cycling-centric ventures. Whether the use of the bicycle is the inspiration for the event or an added ingredient to spice up a classic, bringing individuals together through cycling community events can encourage new riders to get on bikes, veteran cyclists to experience different ways to enjoy riding, and communities as a whole to see how useful and convivial cycling can be. Bike to Work Day, bike weddings, charity rides– these are just a few of the vast assortment of events that can take place in honor of or enhanced by the bicycle.
How do events such as charity rides or group rides tie into utility cycling, you ask? We’ve defined utility cycling as goal-oriented riding. It is different than recreational cycling, although it is perfectly acceptable (and encouraged) for people to enjoy riding bikes for the purpose of accomplishing a specific mission. If utility cycling is riding for a predetermined, achievable goal, then raising money for a charitable organization by participating in a charity ride should be considered utility cycling. As for group rides, they serve as an excellent way for a potential utility cyclist to learn the rules of the road, to become more comfortable riding in traffic and sharing lanes with automobiles, and to meet other people who ride carbon fiber on the weekend but can offer valuable advice about setting up a rig to get to work during the week.
We’ve covered quite a few of these different crazy events at Utility Cycling and illustrated how bikes and the people that are passionate about them can use bikes to effectuate positive achievements in their communities. I have discussed naked bike rides as an example of political activism by bike, and I have used my marvelous opportunity to assist in the operation of one of the country’s most active Bike to Work Day pit stops as inspiration for more than one post. We’ve also included charity rides, group rides, bike weddings and critical mass events as other varieties of cycling community events, or topics under the broader umbrella of community building through bicycles. It would be nearly impossible to come up with a comprehensive list of events that could fall into this category, as new and creative ways to make good use of a very useful two-wheeled machine are developed everyday. So, we’ll continue our search for people and places that are building happier, healthier communities through bicycle-related events, and we encourage you to share your experiences from your neighborhood.