Photo by Amy Whelan
By Aretha Munro
The cycling community loves their events. From rides, to parades, trade shows and conferences, in North America, there are plenty of bike-friendly gatherings for you and your two wheels to attend year-round. We have chosen 10 bike-friendly events that top the list, along with some honorable mentions on our website. Events were judged by attendance, recognition and degree to which they promote cycling in a fun way.
Bike to Work Week/Day/Month
An event designed to get more people commuting by bike in their cities. May is Bike Month throughout the United States. Canadian cities typically celebrate Bike Month in June. Bike to Work Week/ Day often occurs at the end of May or beginning of June. Over 7,200 cyclists participated in Vancouver’s Bike to Work Week in 2010.
Started in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists
Bicycle Film Festival
Held around the world, the festival is a way to celebrate the bicycle through music, art and, of course, film. It takes place in 25 cities, including several stops in North America.
Started in 2001 in New York
A safe and fun bike ride for kids, kids at heart and their families. Rides take place in more than a dozen communities in North America. The riders generally meet at a park and finish not too far away at another fun spot. Rides are held each month in Seattle, WA. Santa Barbara will hold a ride on August 28, 2011.
Started in April 2008 in Eugene, OR
Tour de Fat
Held yearly in 13 US cities, this event features parades, music, films, urban assault rides, the New Belgium Brewery and, of course, lots of fat tire bikes. The tour travels around the US.
Started in 2000
A Spanish word meaning “bike path.” Cities close streets to motorized vehicles and open them to bicyclists and pedestrians. There are 35 Ciclovia events in North America. Major cities include: Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; New York City, NY; and Chicago, IL.
CicLAvia is an adaptation of Ciclovia that takes place in Los Angeles, CA. ciclavia.org/content/action-center
Ciclovia started in the 1970s
Over two weeks of bikey fun. With 219 events, most organized by individuals, bikers of all persuasions are likely to find many events of interest. A notable event is the the World Naked Bike Ride, which had over 7,000 participants last year. The event is held in Portland, OR.
Started in 2004 – originally called BikeSummer
Five Boro Bike Tour
More than 30,000 cyclists participate in this ride around New York City, pedaling down 42 miles (78 kilometers) of car-free streets through all five boroughs and taking in views of iconic landmarks.
Started in New York in 1977
This annual party and fundraiser is an evening of celebrating the love of bike riding in San Francisco, CA. Last year over 1,000 bike enthusiasts attended the event. There is beer and dancing for supporters to enjoy.
Started IN 1995
North American Handmade Bike Show (NAHBS)
The largest gathering of custom bicycle builders and fans anywhere in the world. Builders display a variety of handmade and custom bikes and an award ceremony occurs at the end of the event. Last year the show had 174 exhibitors and over 7,000 attendees. NAHBS is never held in the same city two years in a row. The next NAHBS will take place in Sacramento, CA, March 2 to 4, 2012.
Started in 2005
National Bike Summit
Bike leaders, youth group organizers, retailers, club leaders, trail-builders, bicycle-suppliers and other leading voices gather for three powerful days in Washington, DC. Keynote speakers, group rides and more. Around 500 participants attend the event. The next Summit takes place March 20-22, 2012.
Started in 2000