In February, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker declared that 2013 would be the Year of the Bike. He committed to making the city and state easier and safer for cyclists to navigate by creating more bike lanes and updating traffic signals to better recognize cyclists. Bike-riding honestly didn’t sound all that great back in February, but the arrival of summertime’s long days and warm nights means it’s the ideal time to ditch the car, hop on your bike and pedal your way through Salt Lake City.
Through the bike-share program, which was launched in April, downtown Salt Lake City has been outfitted with 10 stations and 100 bikes for pedestrians to travel around the downtown area. After paying a fee ($5 for 24 hours, $15 for seven days or $75 for a year pass), riders can make an unlimited number of 30-minute trips (station to station). The year pass includes a bike helmet and an I.D. card that gives the user access to similar bike-share programs in 15 other cities across the country.
Ben Bolte, director of the GreenBike program, says organizers are running into the best kind of problem. “It’s way more popular than we thought it would be,” he says. In the program’s first 30 days, he says, 1,300 people took 4,400 trips on 60 bikes.
So, now that you know there’s a bike waiting for you downtown, here’s a list of bike-centric summer activities and events—no car keys needed.
Beehive Bike Polo Club
Every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m., and on Saturday mornings, the Beehive Bike Polo Club gets together and plays a match of bike polo. Similar to regular polo, bike polo is played on a tennis court, basketball court or any other large open surface using a street-hockey ball and mallets. Join the group’s Facebook page for locations and times of the weekly events.
Cycle the City
If you're in the mood to explore, for a fun day trip, ride the 13.5-mile loop that gives riders a tour of the highlights of the city, from City Creek Canyon to Temple Square to Fisher Mansion. You can find the map of the ride at any bike shop within the city limits, at the Salt Lake City & County Building and at BikeSLC.com.
The third-annual Velo Weekend—hosted by Velo City Bags—will include Critical Mass, tall-bike jousting, an alley-cat race, a fixed-gear freestyle comp, Salt City Sprints and live music. Registration is $20 with a T-shirt, and $15 without. Event organizer Nathan Larsen says the event is for all age groups and skill levels. “The overall goal: We want people to have fun,” Larsen says. “We want to bring all the cyclists together and have a good time.” VeloWeekendSLC.com
Salt Lake Bike Collective offers free classes to get your bike up and running—and keep it that way. Classes are held every Monday from July 15 through Sept. 30. BicycleCollective.org
Clear the Air Challenge
During July, Utahns are encouraged to make fewer trips with their cars and use other modes of transportation, especially bikes, to improve the state’s air quality. Participants can log their trips and miles saved to be entered into drawings for weekly prizes, as well as a grand prize that will be awarded at the end of the month. CleartheAirChallenge.org