ON THE PICTURE : Maya Zubia, Bike HUB volunteer. Photo courtesy of Bike Ventura County
By Darrin Peschka and David Goldstein
Amid encouraging signs that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, more businesses are reopening and workers are returning to the office.
If you’re one of the employees returning to work in person, even if it’s only a few days a week, now is a great time to consider incorporating a bike into your commute to work.
May is Bike Month, and the Ventura County Transportation Commission encourages residents to leave their vehicles at home and ride their bikes instead.
During Bike Month, people who commit to riding will have a chance to win one of six $250 gift cards. You can make the pledge on the VCTC website, goventura.org/pledge. Participants must be over 18 and pledges must be made by May 31.
There are multiple opportunities to participate in Bike Month. During Bike to Work Week (May 16-20) and Bike to Work Day (May 20), consider cycling to work instead of driving.
In Ventura County, about 1,717 people bike to work, according to the 2020 American Community Survey. That figure, about 0.4% of the county’s commuters, is consistent with other southern counties. California, according to the investigation.
If your commute to work is too far for cycling, consider pairing a bike ride with a bus or train trip. Most Southern California transit operators offer onboard storage compartments for bikes as well as bike racks and locking facilities at stops and stations. The Intercity VCTC service allows electric bicycles (e-bikes) in the bike racks if they do not have wet batteries. Rules can vary, so it’s best to check with individual operators whether to bring bikes on board.
Swapping a vehicle for a bike is a simple way to help the environment by reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. Cycling instead of driving can also be a way to save some money. The price of regular unleaded gasoline is around $5.80 a gallon in Ventura County, according to AAA, so biking instead of driving can mean keeping a few extra bucks in your pocket.
If you’re not going back to work, consider cycling instead of driving to run errands and get to appointments.
Cycling and enjoying the outdoors can be good for your physical and mental health, and May is also Mental Health Awareness Month, so the nonprofit Bike Ventura County (BikeVC), which helps people repair their own bikes at Bike HUB stores in Ventura and Oxnard, partnering with local artists who will turn bikes into works of art that promote mental health awareness.
“The people who most need Bike HUB’s help to operate their bikes are homeless or have mental health issues. It’s empowering for them to come to the HUB and learn how to operate a bike said Chris Barton, store manager of the Ventura Bike HUB HUBs (Helping Urban Bicyclists) charge a discount for spare parts and lend all the tools needed for repairs.
Additionally, Sergio Garcia, Education Program Manager for BikeVC, leads education programs in schools during Bike Month. During three-week programs in schools, he leads physical education classes on the bike. After lessons on bicycle safety, he will lead walks in the neighborhoods.
If you’re an employer, consider encouraging your employees to cycle to work this month. The Ventura County Division of Sustainability hosts “Cyclemania,” a series of events to promote cycling to county employees. For four days at county facilities, “Welcome Stations” will encourage cyclists by providing coffee, snacks and educational resources. A presentation on May 19 will explain the transportation and health benefits available to county employees. Cyclemania will conclude on May 26 with the Public Works Agency and Ventura County Transportation Commission’s presentation of the county’s active transportation plan and VCTC’s Regional Bikeway Directional Plan, including information on cycle routes suitable for families.
If you’re a new cyclist, VCTC makes it easy to learn where to ride. Visit goventura.org/getting-around/bike and experience one of Ventura County’s bike trails. The regional cycle map highlights class 1 paths, which are separated from cars; Class 2, which are painted bike lanes in the shared street; and Class 3, which are sign-designated on-street bike lanes.
Follow VCTC (@GoVCTC) on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or visit www.goventura.org.
For BikeVC and its two bike hubs, visit bikeventura.org.
The Bike Art Exhibition Healing Cycles of BikeVC opens Sunday, May 15 at 11:04 a.m. at the new Oxnard Bike HUB, 154 E. Sixth St. The painted bike art exhibit will remain on display at the Oxnard Bike HUB May 15–31, 2022.
Darrin Peschka, program manager for government and community relations at the Ventura County Transportation Commission, can be reached at [email protected]
David Goldstein, Environmental Resources Analyst for the Ventura County Public Works Agency, can be reached at [email protected] or 805-658-4312.