Mayor Tom Friedel has proclaimed Friday, May 15, as Ride Your Bike to Work Day, and the Belle Urban System (BUS) has extended that concept all week -- from May 10 - 16 -- by declaring the week as Ride the Bus Free With Your Bike Week.
Friedel said the twin proclamations are aimed at recognizing the importance of bicycling for recreation, health and the preservation of the environment -- and to demonstrate how city transportation supports this cause.
Starting Sunday, May 10, riders with a bicycle will pay no fare; just stow their bike and board the bus.
The BUS promotion coincides with two national events sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists: National Bike month in May and National Ride Your Bike to Work Week.
There are four purposes of the week of free rides for passengers with bikes. The first is to increase the use of bike racks which were installed over a year ago; second is to get families and individuals to realize the BUS can extend their riding area by connecting them to various local off-road bike trails; third, to promote increased recreational use of the city’s two main bike pathways which were created specifically for biking a few years ago; and last, to make Racine more eco-friendly by encouraging alternative methods of transportation on city streets.
Curtis Garner, executive director of the BUS, said he hopes "a free ride will encourage bicyclists to give the bus system a try and help them become familiar with the easy-to-use bike racks installed on all buses last year,” and make use of the Lake Michigan and Root River Pathways.
Garner has placed a YouTube video link demonstrating how to place a bike on the bus’ bike rack on the Racine Transit website.
Perry Oksiuta, owner of Racine Cyclery and Fitness, Inc., sees great benefit from the BUS involvement in biking. “Customers have asked me how to use the bus to get to certain biking routes, and I always wished I could help them out.” Now his shop and the area bike club are promoting the week of free bus rides and making available BUS route guides.
BUS route map pamphlets include the location of bicycle trails and show where BUS routes intersect. These maps are available everywhere bus passes are sold, at Racine Cyclery and online.