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Indianapolis bicyclists will defy winter on Mayor's annual Polar Bear Pedal

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Over 1,200 riders have already registered for the 3rd annual Mayor Ballard’s Polar Bear Pedal. Presented by Coca Cola, coming up this Saturday, January 4, 2014. The 7-mile ride will start at 10 AM from the Indianapolis City Market and Indy Bike Hub YMCA, at 222 East Market Street, in downtown Indianapolis. This year the ride will focus on downtown connectivity, featuring the Woodruff Place neighborhood and the Mass Ave Cultural District.

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This casual ride is just one of the many efforts of Mayor Greg Ballard’s efforts to bring a more bike friendly culture to Indianapolis. Since Mayor Ballard was elected in 2009, Indianapolis has added 70 miles of bike lanes and developed the downtown the Indy Bike Hub YMCA, a fitness and bicycle parking facility. The Mayor’s bicycle friendly initiative are part of a broader strategy to attract new employers and their employees to Indianapolis by providing more fitness and green oriented opportunities in Indianapolis.

First held in 2012, the Polar Bear Pedal has attracted both serious and casual riders of all ages. Over 400 riders came out under overcast, single-digit wind chills, and falling snow, much to the surprise of everyone involved. Over 1,000 riders attended the ride in 2012, under sunny sky’s and just below freezing temps.

Riding in winter conditions requires dressing for freedom of movement while protecting exposed skin from frigid wind chills. While many experienced riders will have technical riding gear designed for winter conditions, many of the more casual riders will be out in regular winter clothing.

Helmets are required for all riders, and riders should take care that hats worn under a cycling helmets are not so thick and bulky that they interfere with proper helmet fit. Bicycle Garage Indy, a sponsor of the event, will be have number of winter riding accessories available from it’s location in the Indy Bike Hub YMCA. Bicycle Garage Indy also offers web page of cold weather riding tips and a Cold Weather Riding Gear Guide.

Rider should also be aware that bicycles ridden on treated icy streets should be cleaned as soon as possible after the ride. The snow-melting salt, sand, and chemicals used on city streets can damage the finish and components of a bicycle if left on after a ride.

There is no fee for this event, although riders are encouraged to per-register at the ride website: http://www.indy.gov/eGov/City/DPW/SustainIndy/Bikeways/Pages/Polar-Bear-Pedal-.aspx. On-site registration will begin in the Main House of the Indianapolis City Market at 9 AM. A limited edition T-shirt will be available for purchase at ride registration. Hot chocolate will be available at the end of the ride.

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