Regional Rideshare Program: SLO County kicks off Bike Month

Bike Month 2010 gets under way in earnest this week, with a special breakfast for children who ride their bikes to school, a training class for women on bike repairs and the opening of a bike-oriented art gallery in Atascadero.

Bike Month officially began Saturday with a parade of riders through the Arroyo Grande Village. San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition members also led various rides for people eager to try cycling.

The annual schedule of events is organized by San Luis Obispo Regional Rideshare, which seeks to cut commuting by car and get county residents riding bikes. By doing that, air pollution is reduced and personal health improved, Rideshare officials said.

There are more than 60 free events planned this month throughout the county under the theme “Life in the Bike Lane.”

Headlining the events is the fourth annual commuter bike challenge. Businesses and nonprofit groups can compete to see who gets the highest percentage of their employees riding a bike to work at least once during May. Individuals can also compete for the highest number of miles traveled, most trips made and greatest amount of emissions reduced.

For those who have not ridden a bike for a while, workshops will be offered to rebuild confidence in riding. A tour of wineries in Edna Valley is planned. One local winemaker, Larry Brooks, will host a 53-mile tour of Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay, complete with 5,000 feet of climbing. (Only experienced riders should participate in the Cote de Tolosa. Go to www.tolosawinery.com for details.)

This week, children enrolled at Hawthorne Elementary in San Luis Obispo will get a free breakfast if they bike to school. Other schools participating this month in biking events are Oceano Elementary, Paso Robles High and Grover Heights Elementary.

Those who want to see bike-inspired art or listen to live music can go to the Bike Lane Gallery, 5805 El Camino Real in Atascadero.

On Tuesday, the first of several workshops will be held in which female riders can learn how to maintain and repair their bikes. The 4 to 7 p.m. class is sponsored by the Bike Coalition at its headquarters, 860 Pacific St. in San Luis Obispo.

The complete schedule of events can be viewed at www.rideshare.org/lifeinthebikelane.