Not to jump the gun, as there are still a few days left before May 2014 fades into June, but let's tip our caps (or helmets) to what has been an eventful Bike Month in Orange County.
Not to long ago Bike Month was Bike to Work Day, which was supplanted by Bike to Work Week before expanding to its current format.
You can probably take the literal temporal constraint a month represents, though, and look at the broader picture of what's happened. Many OC cities have adopted or in the process of creating Bicycle Master Plans. And many of these are including riders in their politicking and strategizing.
There's common ground about making bicycle riding safer, and you see this in the combined efforts of clubs, shops and advocacy groups to make educational "Bicycling 101" courses more accessible. Kudos to the Orange County Bicycle Coalition, the Orange County Wheelmen, the Bicycle Cub of Irvine, and Jax Bicycle Shops for their efforts.
And, as much as the Orange County Transportation Authority may only vaguely recognize that people ride bikes for reasons other than commuting and going to school, the agency has done a phenomenal job of bringing cycling into the mainstream. Building corridor-based transportation plans that promote cities to link bike routes to create a more seamless network. Working with local agencies to enhance safety and get more people on bikes. Promoting safety awareness for cyclists, drivers and pedestrians. Sponsoring public meetings to get a pulse on what the varied OC communities need for their riders. Making Bike Month a rolling party of sorts.
OCTA may even be building some consensus. At the least it's giving anyone and everyone with an interest in cycling or affected by bicyclists a forum and a countywide table to air their thoughts, grievances and suggestions.
One of the final events of Bike Month happened over Memorial Day Weekend, at Pavilion Park in Irvine. Pavilion Park is a new neighborhood being developed by Five Point Communities as part of Irvine's Great Park. An orange bike "stars" in the community's logo, and it symbolizes the ties to the county (by color) and ideals of mobility and health. New homebuyers receive their choice of a men's or women's custom 3-speed cruiser, and as it happens these are designed and manufactured by Felt Bicycles, based in Irvine. Bikes are assembled and set-up for their new owners by Irvine Bicycles.
The pick up of the bikes happens once a month, with a bit of fanfare. This weekend, the fanfare was sponsored by OCTA. Aside from an OCTA booth, which featured a chance to win a prize by flexing your bike safety knowledge muscle, the local cycling community was represented by the OC Wheelmen, the Bicycle Club of Irvine included Pavilion Park as a waypoint of the Saturday ride, Jax was present with complementary bike service (it's amazing how many bikes are running around with dry chains, low tires, and making noises like an anemic pack animal). The Irvine Police Department was on hand to register bikes and give tips on safe riding.
And, as dear to a rider's heart as a good Belgian beer, there was coffee. Lattes. Cappuccinos. Espressos. Made to order. Chapeau to the barista, and to everyone who sponsored the day.
Last but not least, May also featured the Amgen Tour of California, which has managed to miss the OC since its inception. Rumor has it that a contingent from a mystery OC city spent time at this year's race and, next year, who knows?