The City of Gainesville will celebrate National Bike Month with a Bike Month Kickoff Friday, May 6 at 5 p.m. and a Ride with the Mayor and Commish Saturday, May 7 beginning at 9 a.m.
The Bike Month Kickoff will take place Friday, May 6, from 5-7 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Plaza. Free bike valet parking will be provided to make it easier for attendees to travel to the event by bicycle. At 5:30 p.m., the mayor will officially open National Bike Month, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held for the new Gainesville bike share system. A raffle will be held to give away several free annual memberships to the bike share program.
The launch of the bike share system will include two stations – one at Bo Diddley Plaza and one on the Sixth Street Trail near Innovation Square. Each station will include eight bicycles that will be available for rental on an hourly basis – with discounts provided to weekly, monthly or annual members. The City Commission allocated funding for the pilot program in fiscal year 2016, and Zagster (www.zagster.com) was selected to provide bike share services to Gainesville. Zagster has systems at many universities and mid-sized cities around the country, including a program launched in December in Lakeland, Florida. The primary goal of public bike sharing is to expand and integrate cycling into existing transportation systems, so that it can be readily used by visitors and citizens for daily commuting or recreational rides, but also for convenient shopping and entertainment trips.
On the morning of Saturday, May 7, the public is invited to join the mayor, city commissioners and other local leaders to highlight the benefits of cycling and the coordinated efforts of the city, county, university and local developers to create a continuous urban trail system. The 5.5-mile ride will begin at 9 a.m. at the Bo Diddley Plaza, located at 111 E. University Ave. The ride will showcase the Depot Trail, the new Cross Campus Greenway through the University of Florida campus and a portion of the Archer Braid Trail. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Cross Campus Greenway will take place at 10 a.m. at the Bartram-Carr Conservation Area, near Newell Drive, on the UF campus. The ride will end at the construction site of the new 30th Avenue Bridge, which will provide an additional crossing point over the interstate for vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. The detailed bike route with highlighted points of interest can be viewed at www.cityofgainesville.org/bikeped.
Throughout May, the community will host many rides and events organized by the Gainesville Cycling Club, the Active Streets Alliance, local bicycle shops and others.
For additional information about the Bike Month Kickoff, the Ride with the Mayor and Commish and a calendar of other events, please visit www.cityofgainesville.org/bikeped.