Escape on Bike Your Park Day Sept 24
Remember the feeling of hopping on your bike and pedaling away without a care in the world? Bicycling is a great escape from daily stress, especially if you’re riding close to nature. So why not plan a family outing on Saturday, Sept. 24, the first-ever Bike Your Park Day, and get your kids in on the fun.
The day celebrates the centennial of the National Park Service, National Public Lands Day and Adventure Cycling’s 40th anniversary by encouraging people to ride to and within parks and public lands. Many parks will have free entry, and some will offer special activities and service projects. At press time, nearly 10,000 participants in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and several countries had registered rides.
“Bike Your Park Day is a great opportunity to promote healthy, active recreation in our parks while at the same time encouraging family-friendly activities during the NPS Centennial year,” says NPS Program Chief of Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Bob Ratcliffe. “Plus it’s a much better experience seeing our parks from the seat of a bicycle than sitting in a car!”
Photo courtesy of Adam Coppola
Join or Start a Ride
If you’d like to take part in the day, you can design your own ride choosing any distance, any style of bicycling and any type of park or public land that is open to bicycles. Register your ride for free at BikeYourParkDay.org, where you’ll find an interactive map showing all of the rides taking place. I found these three Triangle rides — all between 25 and 30 miles — registered on the interactive map.
- Bike Your Parkapalooza (30 miles thorugh Bond Park, Umstead State Park and North Carolina Museum of Art Park)
- Catherine and Harry's Park Day Ride (25 miles through Falls of Neuse Greenway)
- Umstead to Raleigh Brewing (25 miles; starting in Umstead State Park with a stop at Raleigh Brewing before heading back to Umstead Park)
If you have tweens or teens who are good long-distance riders, these rides will be perfect, but parents with young children might want to set up their own shorter rides. Lisa McKinney, a spokesperson for Adventure Cycling, says organizers would love to see more folks enjoying their public lands in whatever way suits them. A short ride to and picnic in a state park could be just right for some, she says.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Miller
The interactive website allows people to contact the ride organizer. Those who have questions about the event can contact one of the 150 Bike Your Park Day volunteer ambassadors based in 47 states. In North Carolina, we have three ambassadors who can answer questions about bicycle safety, bike-friendly routes, and nearby parks and public lands. Plus, with so many beautiful parks in or near our state, this is a perfect opportunity to explore a new one.