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SLO County promotes active transportation, community during annual bike month

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Catalina Foster, SLOCOG Rideshare Program Coordinator
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More than 1,000 SLO County residents usually participate in the Bike Month events.

A long-standing local event is back in-person this month. San Luis Obispo County’s Bike Month began in 2000 and is celebrating its 20th event this May with in-person activities back for the first time since 2019.

Bike Month is organized by the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG). The event is meant to encourage community connection and alternative carbon-free transportation.

“We’re all about transportation efficiency and trying to get folks to move out of their single-occupancy vehicles and into alternative modes in the county,” said SLOCOG Rideshare Program Coordinator Catalina Foster.

Foster said the month is back with bike-to-work and bike-to-school events. People can participate in things like mountain bike maintenance or e-bike test riding. She said the bike-to-work week is new this year.

“With the hybrid schedule this year, we decided not to go with bike-to-work day because a lot of people are in the office on different days," Foster said. "So we did bike-to-work week.”

That will run May 16 - 20. Several cycling events will be held each day during that week — including breakfasts and happy hours.

“That can look like you [bringing] your helmet into participating locations that give you a discount on food and beverages or that can look like you [biking] up to a business that has donuts, coffee, bagels in the morning and it’s all free,” Foster said.

SLOCOG also rolled out a new regional digital bike map this year. It can be viewed on a cellphone to see the easiest routes for cycling anywhere in SLO County.

“Maybe learning about new bike infrastructure that they didn’t know existed or better ways to move around the county via bike. It is a community builder for sure,” Foster said.

Foster said besides the goals of reducing carbon emissions and encouraging an active lifestyle, biking can also just make people happier.

“Our everyday commute can get kind of mundane and we’re isolated in our vehicles," Foster said. "So I do think it brings people a lot of unexpected joy to get on bicycles.”

San Luis Obispo was named as the top city for bicycling in the U.S. back in 2020. The city has given the green light for a number of bike infrastructure projects in the last several years — some prompting concern among residents who are worried about a loss of parking and vehicle lanes.

To view the Bike Month schedule and the digital bike map, click here.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.
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