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Chapel Hill and Carrboro celebrate National Bike Month with cycling-related activities


To promote National Bike Month, the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro have been hosting a variety of cycling events.

Throughout May, Chapel Hill and Carrboro celebrated National Bike Month with activities promoting biking across the two towns. 

The month kicked off with Carrboro Open Streets​​ — an event where attendees could participate in recreational activities like biking, yoga and dance— on Weaver Street while it was closed off to cars. 

The towns hosted events like the Bike & Roll to School Day, the Chapel Hill Bike On Bus Workshop and the Carrboro Bike Breakfast during this year’s celebration. 

Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils said Carrboro and Chapel Hill have stepped up during this year’s recognition of Bike Month.

“We have many more events this year than I think we've had in any previous year for Bike Month, which was fantastic,” Seils said. “And some of them are targeting different members of the community.”  

Both Carrboro and Chapel Hill are recognized as silver-level Bicycle Friendly Communities by the League of American Bicyclists.

The League assesses communities across the United States on five essential elements of a Bike Friendly America — equity and accessibility; engineering; education; encouragement; and evaluation and planning.

Carrboro was the first community in North Carolina to receive this designation in 2010. 

Both communities have implemented bikeability and bike access in recent policies, like Carrboro Connects' 2022-2042 Comprehensive Plan and Chapel Hill’s Climate Action and Response Plan. 

“What's important for people to know is that transportation is now the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in North Carolina,” Seils said. 

Carrboro’s Community Climate Action Plan also includes developing bike share programs, maintenance and safety kits for neighborhood use and designated bike-to-school days.

“Anything we can do both at an individual level and at a policy level to give people more options for getting around in ways that don't burn fossil fuels, the better off we'll be in achieving our climate goals,” Seils said. 

Co-owner of Back Alley BikesTamara Sanders said that social rides are also a large part of celebrating Bike Month. 

According to Sanders, the biking community has been active as far back as the 70s. 

“It was wonderful, there (were) plans for (biking) infrastructure a lot sooner than a lot of other communities,” Sanders said.

Seils helped organize Ride into Pride — an event spotlighting local queer cyclists — with Queer Ride Carrboro, a group that organizes bike rides for local LGBTQ individuals. 

The event is set to close out Bike Month on May 31, as Pride Month begins the next day and the group ride will span five miles.

"It's a fun way to connect those two interests and bring the community together," Seils said.

Ride into Pride is intended to highlight the local queer cyclist community and focus on the physical and psychological safety of the trans community, according to Queer Ride Carrboro’s Instagram page. 

CL Graves said she founded Queer Ride Carrboro in 2018 after she moved to the town and was looking for more casual social riding spaces.

Graves said she has since seen an increase in casual cycling in the community since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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“One of the things that really precipitated a lot more rides was during the pandemic because it was an activity that people could do relatively safely and outdoors,” said Graves. “We saw a really large boom in large group rides in particular during that time.” 

@DTHCityState | 

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