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May 18, 2013

Norman cyclists take the path less traveled to work

NORMAN — Rain, shine or fog, Norman bicyclists show up every year, and have been showing up every year for eight years, for the city’s annual Bike to Work event. Despite drizzle and fog Friday morning, this year was no exception.

“Norman has one of the best attended Bike to Work events in the area,” said John Sharp, program coordinator for Association of Central Oklahoma Governments.

From competitive and recreational cyclists to short mileage commuters, Bike to Work Day is a fun get-together held annually at Andrews Park with healthy snacks, prizes and a bicycle giveaway.

This year’s bicycle was a cruiser donated by First American Bank and won by Tony Bradley. Bradley rode in with his wife Marles Bradley from Moore-Norman Technology Center.

Eric Melton, Patrick Kimmel and Drew Edington from 405 Bicycles shop rode in from the HealthPlex accompanied by fellow cyclists including two EMTs and a Norman bicycle patrol officer.

“We’re really improving the safety of our corridors,” said Mayor Cindy Rosenthal.

The recent passage of a bond proposal for eight transportation projects includes multimodal forms of transportation, she said. The Cedar Lane widening project, including bicycle lanes, is on the drawing board now.

A state project in conjunction with the city will make Highway 9 headed east, multimodal, she said.

Rosenthal has been a leisure bike rider for a long time, but recently purchased a cruiser with  a rack on the back and saddlebags so that she can make more frequent use of the bicycle for commuting.

Annual Bike to Work Day events are coordinated by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, regional bicycle advocates and area cities including Norman, Oklahoma City, Guthrie, Midwest City, Moore, Yukon and Edmond.

Bike to Work Day is a national campaign to promote bicycling as a transportation alternative. The League of American Bicyclists has recognized the month of May as National Bike to Work Month since 1956.

“I think Norman does a very good job,” Sharp said. “James Briggs gets lots of prizes donated.”

CART also showed up at the event with a bus. All of the CART vehicles have bicycle racks.

“It just expands everybody’s range,” Sharp said.

Students and other CART passengers can ride bikes to a nearby bus stop, take CART to school, work or a shopping destination and then ride their bikes to avoid fighting for parking places.

“That’s a really big deal around OU,” Sharp said. “Parking’s always an issue at any college campus.”

 

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