Provo Bike Month is underway, celebrating Provo’s vibrant active transportation community.
Bike Month is a national event promoted by the League of American Bicyclists, with individual cities participating on a local scale. BikeWalk Provo, in conjunction with Provo City, has helped sponsor Provo Bike Month for years. The celebration, which goes from April 26 to May 22, consists of bike tours, bike exhibits, a parade, service projects, community bike rides and the annual Bike to Work or Anywhere Day.
“BikeWalk Provo and Provo City work together to do Bike to Work or Anywhere Day on May 4th, and BikeWalk Provo organizes the other events,” said Christine Frandsen, executive director of BikeWalk Provo. “That’s the longest-running event, and then we’ve built other events around that. Bike to Work Day is super fun and involves a lot of local businesses in Provo — it’s like trick-or-treating on bikes for breakfast!”
BikeWalk Provo is a non-profit organization that “advocates for street design and culture that makes it safe, convenient and fun for all to move around by bike or foot,” according to their website.
As BikeWalk Provo helps bring Bike Month to Provo, they hope they can show people there are alternative options to driving. Active commuting activities such as biking and walking are one of many tools in our transportation toolbox, Frandsen explained. Especially when traveling locally, to places within five or so miles, Frandsen encourages people to try out riding a bike to their destination.
After living abroad in countries like the Netherlands and Denmark with thriving bike infrastructures and communities, Frandsen wanted to bring the bike lifestyle with her to Provo. After buying her first cargo bike in 2020, Frandsen found herself a part of a larger cargo bike community that then connected her with BikeWalk Provo.
As she chooses active transportation over her vehicle for nearby traveling, Frandsen said she has enjoyed interacting with nature and finding a sense of community .
“When you are moving among people on a bike instead of being enclosed in a car, you connect with people so much easier. You say hi to people that are on other bikes or walking on the sidewalks and you connect as people,” Frandsen said. “The exercise benefit is also great, as well as not paying for gas.”
Frandsen even said sometimes biking can be a faster option than driving with various bike routes and not having to worry about parking or getting kids in and out of car seats.
“There are things about biking I honestly find more convenient than driving,” Frandsen said.
BYU assistant professor of plant and wildlife sciences Ben Abbott said for him, there is no better way to rediscover your community than by biking.
“It’s a completely different experience than driving a car. I see things and meet people all the time when biking around town,” Abbott said.
Abbott also said he receives a sense of empowerment when he realizes he can get done everything he needs to on his own, without relying on a car.
“Biking is one of those alignments between personal health, environmental stewardship and community building. I hope everyone gives it a try,” Abbott said.
Many BYU students have adopted an active commuting lifestyle, with BYU itself becoming a more bike-friendly community by offering bicycle parking, bicycle education classes and hosting events such as Y-Bike and The Cougar Cruise. The BYU Campus Bicycle Committee was created in 2016 to continue to advocate for more bike-friendly policies and infrastructure in Provo. Provo and BYU were both designated as silver-level Bicycle Friendly Communities in 2016 by the League of American Bicyclists.
“I recently moved south of campus and have been biking a lot more since everything is so close and bikeable,” said Izzy Searcy, a BYU student. “Biking has all the benefits of walking but is faster! You get to see all the houses and connect with those around you. When I’m driving I feel separated from the people in my neighborhood.”
Searcy’s friend Luka Romney, also a BYU student, appreciates living in a community that is so bike friendly.
“I grew up near Immigration Canyon in Salt Lake so I drove to school and where I needed to go every day. Living in Provo and being in a community that’s actually bikeable has been so nice,” Romney said.
Romney credits BikeWalk Provo for the work it has done to create safe bike roads and acknowledges the many people that have come together to create bike-friendly infrastructure in Provo. Making the community more bikeable not only helps individuals but brings friends and communities together.
“Biking is a great way to spend meaningful time with my friends, especially over the summer. In the summer we don’t drive, we bike everywhere all the time,” Romney said.
Ultimately, Frandsen said Provo Bike Month is an opportunity for the community to try out biking and see if they enjoy it.
“We want people to try it and see the good in walking or biking to places that you would usually drive a car to and feel the benefits for themselves! Get out there and give it a go and maybe you’ll understand why it’s a passion for us,” Frandsen said. “It honestly makes my life better, which is why I want other people to have that option too.”
In addition to organizing Bike Month, BikeWalk Provo advocates for various street improvements, people-focused city planning and improved safety for bicyclists.
For people who want to participate in Provo Bike Month but do not own a bike, there are still ways to get involved. Bird motorized bikes and scooters can be found around Provo and offer discounts for students. Additionally, students can find refurbished bikes at discounted prices at the Provo Bicycle Collective, a beloved fixture within the Provo bike community, according to Frandsen, Searcy and Romney. People are also welcome to participate in the festivities by walking.