Saturday was Bike to Shop Day. PPSP celebrated with Bike Fun on the Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride. It was a history-making ride, as Stevens Point became one of the first few communities in the country, along with Silicon Valley in CA and Portland, OR, to celebrate Bike to Shop Day.
A recent national survey commissioned by People for Bikes found that it is 37% more common to use a bicycle for shopping or running errands than for commuting to work or school. The purpose of Bike to Shop Day is to raise awareness of this fact to encourage more people to choose bicycles for short trips to shops near their homes.
While other communities organized tours to shops offering discounts to customers arriving by bicycle, PPSP took a somewhat different spin on the event. Our ride demonstrated to Poky Pedalers that popular local shopping destinations can be reached safely and conveniently by bicycle. By becoming aware of good routes, it is easier to make the choice of a bicycle for that next shopping trip.
But the Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride was also about Bingo. At the start, fourteen Poky Pedalers each received a different Bingo card filled with names of local shops. Under warm sunny skies, we rode off together on our shopping-based Bingo game.
Our route, which took us on calm streets, non-motorized paths, and sparse portions of parking lots, included many Bingo stops. At each, Poky Pedalers could mark off any shop appearing on their card that they could see, as long as they could actually see the shop building and read a sign identifying the shop.
There were actually two concurrent Bingo games going on: one for the shorter 8-mile loop that cruised around the shops along Hwy 10 on the east side of Stevens Point, and one for the full 15-mile loop that continued south and included the shops in Crossroad Commons.
To win the short loop, Poky Pedalers had to fill a 2×2 square in any of the four corners. Winning the long loop required the more traditional Bingo routine of filling a row, column, or diagonal.
There were prizes at stake. Extremely limited edition versions of PPSP vinyl bicycle stickers were the prizes. The short loop prize was a special snail-green version of the black “Poky and Proud” sticker available for free on every Poky Pedal. The long loop prize was a “Bike to Shop Day Bingo Winner” sticker. If you see one of these stickers on someone else’s bike and decide you want one…well, sorry but you should have joined us for the chance to win.
The highlights of the Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride included the following:
- Learning about the repaving project on Brilowski Rd near Fleet Farm that will include bike lanes and sidewalks: This closes the 500’ connectivity gap between Walter St and Woodland St that was quite uncomfortable for bicycling. Access by bike to the shops east of this location is now significantly easier. We rode on the closed street, but it looks like this project will be completed in the next week or so.
Riding the sidepath along County R that connects Porter Rd to County HH and provides excellent access to Crossroad Commons: This path was built last summer as part of the reconstruction of County R. Now the sidepath on County R extends 2 1/2 miles from Old Hwy 18 to the access street for the neighborhood just south of Porter Rd. Very few of our Poky Pedalers had ridden this new sidepath before. You can read my blog post from last year giving my first impressions of this new path.
- Riding all around Crossroad Commons on a bicycle: This was a first for most Poky Pedalers, and we discovered that by skirting car-intensive areas of parking lots, Crossroad Commons is actually pretty easy and comfortable to navigate by bicycle. I suspect Poky Pedalers were quite surprised to experience this.
Of course, the main highlight was playing Bingo. Some people got pretty intense as they marked squares on their card and eagerly sought out that one shop that would let them erupt with a shout of “Bingo!” The tension built as we made Bingo stop after Bingo stop. I won’t reveal the details that led to the crowning of winners – I don’t want to spoil the fun in case the Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride appears again on a future Bike Fun Calendar. I’ll simply say that all Poky Pedalers enjoyed a satisfying end to a splendid day of Bike Fun.
It will be hard to match the thrill of shopping-based Bingo played during our history-making Poky Pedal on Bike to Shop Day. Then again, each Poky Pedal has its own distinctive essence, meaning it is probably best to simply let anticipation of future Bike Fun be your guiding light. Poky Pedalers will definitely want to make plans to share more Bike Fun with PPSP soon.