Provo City officials promote biking to work

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Corey Norman, left, Mindy Gledhill and Mayor John Curtis enjoy breakfast at Bike to Work Day. This year’s event marked the 16th annual Bike to Work Day and included free breakfast for riders for the first time. (Christian Clark)

A bright blue sky accompanied the crisp, cool morning. Birds chirped and a few early-morning commuters provided background noise to the bike chains, pedals and bells. Every few blocks, smiling business owners offered riders a free breakfast and a chance to take a breather.

The scene was part of Provo’s 16th annual Bike to Work Day, when city officials kicked off National Bike Month on Wednesday, May 11. The city offered free breakfast for riders, bicycle tune-ups and bike registration stations. The newly expanded Bike to Work Day represents the growth and progress of Provo.

“I think it represents what Provo is trying to become,” said Mindy Gledhill, singer for HiveRiot! and a Provo business owner, who provided breakfast for riders. “It’s becoming more of a metropolitan area, more diverse, more environmentally and eco-friendly, and I admire the city’s efforts.”

Mayor John Curtis said he is happy with the changes that bike month is bringing.  “The dialogue in the community about riding bikes makes it a success.”

That dialogue was evident by the number of people that participated in Bike to Work Day. There were first-timers and long-time participants. Eric and Jessica Romrell, BYU students who heard about Bike to Work Day through a campus wellness challenge, said they enjoyed riding their bikes and participating in the event for the first time.

Long-time biker Larry Dunning said he was pleased with the changes made to the event this year. “Previously, if I remember right, there was only one venue; now, they’re all over the place,” Dunning said.  “There are so many venues offering breakfast and (bicycle) tune-ups.”

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Provo City is working towards changes to make biking a more convenient transportation option. This focus is specifically important now as May is National Bike Month. (Provo City)

Dunning said he enjoys riding his bike to work but is not yet satisfied with the city’s accommodation for bikers. “It could be better,” Dunning said.  “I know there’s a plan to open biking trails and lanes and things like that. I think things are going to get a lot better in the future.”

Eric and Jessica Romrell did not share the same opinion. They love the Provo River Trail and Eric said he is happy with how the city is trying to make biking around town easier and safer.

“I’m a big fan,” Eric Romrell said. “I think they’ve done really well with it.”

The city has a plan to make biking a more convenient transportation option. Curtis said they made changes to Bike to Work Day to promote change in the city.

“We used to meet at the county building, everybody would come to one location and it wasn’t really like people were biking to work,” Curtis said. “So we tried to spread out these locations and really encourage people to make a change instead of just (coming) to an event.”

Provo Bike to Work Day was only the beginning of bike month. Other activities taking place during the month include weekly Monday night rides and a Bikes and Trails Festival on May 28. Further information about Provo’s bike month activities can be found at www.provo.org.

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