Unique flavor of Bike Fun this Saturday on the Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride

Bike to Shop Day is this Saturday. To celebrate, PPSP is elevating Bike Fun to new heights with the Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride. Poky Pedalers won’t want to miss out on this unique opportunity to combine bicycling, Bingo, prizes, and a bit of civic pride on a national scale for Stevens Point. Curiosity piqued? Read on to learn what this Poky Pedal is all about.

The Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride will meet on Saturday May 23 at 12:45 PM in Iverson Park near the Green Circle gravel path. From there, we’ll set out on a bike ride with two distance options. The full ride is a 15-mile loop. For those who do not want to ride that far, there will be a cutoff at mile 7 where Poky Pedalers may ride 1 1/2 miles on non-motorized paths back to our starting spot to complete an 8 1/2 mile loop.

As is the case for all Poky Pedals, the Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride is free, and all Poky Pedalers are welcome. We’ll ride slowly on calm streets and non-motorized paths throughout the ride, although we will be doing some riding through parking lots due to the nature of our theme. We’ll avoid the car-intensive sections of these parking lots, so those parts of our Poky Pedal will also be calm.

During each of the short and long loops, we’ll be playing shopping-based Bingo games. But before I get into that, let me give a bit of context about Bike to Shop Day.

What is Bike to Shop Day all about?
Poky Pedalers are probably aware of annual Bike to Work Day and Bike to School Day events. Groups all over the US have promoted these events for years to encourage commuting by bicycle. Yet these efforts have significant limitations because for a great many, either the distance is too far or else the route feels unsafe. When going to work or school, the destination is fixed and may offer no suitable bicycle route options.

choc ride copps outside

Poky Pedalers will discover how easy it is to bike to common shopping destinations on the Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride

But when it comes to shopping, most people have choices. For many shopping trips, there are destination options within a mile or two from home that are reachable via calm routes. This means that it is far easier for most people to choose to use a bicycle for some of their shopping trips. Besides, to quote the founder of Bike to Shop Day, “unlike work, no one cares if you show up at the grocery store in shorts and a t-shirt.”

Furthermore, a recent nationwide study commissioned by People for Bikes found that among those who use a bicycle for transportation, far more use bikes for shopping and errand trips (63%) than for commuting to work or school (46%).

This all suggests that events to encourage people to use bicycles for their shopping trips are likely to be very successful.

Last year, bike blogger Janet Lafleur of Mountain View, CA had the same idea. So she coordinated with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to hold the first ever Bike to Shop Day in May of 2014. For that event, they arranged for dozens of local businesses to offer discounts to shoppers arriving by bicycle, and they organized three shop-by-bicycle tours to encourage folks to take advantage of those discounts. What a great idea!

svbc poster

The poster for SVBC’s 2nd annual Bike to Shop Day

Great ideas need to spread. To encourage other cities to hop on the Bike to Shop Day trailer, the League of American Bicyclists invited Lafleur to speak about Bike to Shop Day at the National Bike Summit in Washington DC this past March. You can read a Q&A with Lafleur about her inspiration for creating Bike to Shop Day on the LAB website.

This Saturday, the SVBC will hold its second annual Bike to Shop Day. But this year, they will have company. Stevens Point will be celebrating along with them by sharing Bike Fun on the Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride. To my knowledge, Portland, OR is the only other city participating this year. Thus, Stevens Point can feel some civic pride in being among the first few cities in the United States to celebrate Bike to Shop Day.

Our focus on Bike to Shop Day will deviate from that of other celebrations. On our Poky Pedal, the intent is to demonstrate that many common shopping destinations in the Stevens Point area can be reached comfortably by bicycle. We won’t be doing any shopping, although I suppose there is always potential for some sort of Poky-Pedaler-inspired spontaneous shopping frenzy. Instead, Poky Pedalers will simply have the opportunity to experience for themselves the accessibility by bicycle of many local shopping destinations.

Oh…and we’ll simultaneously be playing Bingo.

How does a Bingo ride work?
Of all the conversations I’ve had since releasing the 2015 Bike Fun Calendar, that is the number one question Poky Pedalers have asked me. “How does a Bingo ride work?”

Poky Pedaling Stevens Point is all about Bike Fun. As Chief Bike Fun Officer, I asked myself how I could maximize Bike Fun while celebrating Bike to Shop Day. The answer came to me in a flash: let’s play Bingo! (Perhaps this is the sort of intuition that can only come while living in central Wisconsin.)

bingo template

Bingo template for the Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride. Your card will be filled with names of shops. Get 5-in-a-row, shout “Bingo”, and win a prize!

So here is how the Bingo part works. At the start of the ride, each Poky Pedaler will receive a Bingo card displaying an array of names of local shops. During the ride, we’ll have numerous Bingo stops where Poky Pedalers can look around and mark off their Bingo card according to the nearby shops they see. And just like Bingo games at the Wisconsin State Fair, when a Poky Pedaler fills a row, column, or diagonal on their card, they’ll shout “Bingo” and be our Bingo winner.

Actually, there will be two Bingo games going on simultaneously. One game will take place on the short 8 1/2 mile loop, and the second game will be played among those who choose to ride the full 15-mile loop. Never mind the details of how all this will work – I’ll explain at the ride start. Simply focus on the tantalizing combination of bicycling and Bingo. I imagine that Poky Pedalers are struggling to contain their anticipation of all the Bike Fun we’ll share on Saturday.

By the way, Bingo winners will receive prizes. They aren’t big prizes, so Poky Pedalers shouldn’t expect any all-expenses-paid trips to a tropical island in January. But they will be extremely rare prizes that will draw the envy (in a kind and Bike Fun manner, of course) of other Poky Pedalers.

“I just can’t wait for all the Bike Fun this Saturday!”
Bike to Shop Day is almost here. Just hang in there a few more days and before you know it, you’ll be sharing Bike Fun on the Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride.

The weather for Saturday looks great. The forecast calls for 70 degrees, plenty of sun, calm winds, and no rain. After our recent spate of cold and windy days, weather appropriate for late-May is more than welcome. What a great setting to share Bike Fun and celebrate Bike to Shop Day.

So head down to Iverson Park at 12:45 PM this Saturday and be a part of this unique event. The Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride will be a history-making opportunity to share Bike Fun and win a Bingo prize. Few events can make such a claim, so Poky Pedalers won’t want to miss out. See you on Saturday.


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