This has been another spectacular year for Poky Pedaling Stevens Point. As fall starts to settle in, let us take this opportunity to look back on all the Bike Fun shared with PPSP in 2015.
This year offered 15 Poky Pedals, the most in the four years that PPSP has been creating Bike Fun, and we averaged over 12 Poky Pedalers on each. Cumulatively, our Poky Pedals covered a substantial portion of our urban area. We spanned Stevens Point from the neighborhoods west of the Wisconsin River to the commercial area along Hwy 10 east of I-39. Poky Pedalers had the opportunity to explore streets throughout the northern half of the Village of Plover on this year’s Poke Around Ride. Another Poky Pedal took us all over Crossroad Commons, where we discovered that accessing this car-oriented shopping center by bicycle can feel surprisingly comfortable, assuming a judicious choice of where one rides.
Our season of Poky Pedals had numerous highlights:
Stevens Point became one of the first three communities in the nation to celebrate Bike to Shop Day – the other two are Silicon Valley, CA and Portland, OR – via our Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride. This Poky Pedal demonstrated that we have safe and comfortable bicycle access to popular shopping destinations in our urban area. Our celebration also included a shopping-based Bingo game that became quite intense as Poky Pedalers sought out that final shop that would let them cry out “Bingo!”
- The first night ride in the history of Poky Pedaling Stevens Point took place on the September TGIF Dessert Ride. Several Poky Pedalers were inspired to acquire lights for their bicycles so they could safely and legally experience bicycling at night along with others whose bikes were already outfitted with illumination.
On the Poke-Around Ride – Plover North, we learned about the 1850’s community of Springville that lent its name Springville Pond, we discovered a secret miniature golf spot, and we enjoyed a luxurious snack stop in a gazebo located in the most elegant cul-de-sac in Portage County. We also visited the only Frank Lloyd Wright designed house in Portage County and learned a bit about its architecture and how it got built.
- One of our Poky Pedaling Potluck Picnics included a private post-picnic showing of the CycleLove art exhibit at the Riverfront Art Center. Nancy Thorson, Director of the RAC, was kind enough to open this wonderful exhibit of bicycle-themed art just for our picnic participants. Among the dozens of fabulous works of art on display, which were created by a host of local talented artists inspired by bicycles and bicycle culture, a smidgen of Bike Fun was also represented via a piece created by PPSP.
Poky Pedalers learned about many recommendations for improving bicycling and walking around Stevens Point on the Bike/Ped Plan Vision Ride, an encore Poky Pedal from 2014. This Poky Pedal was based on the Portage County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan and provided a representative sample of its content. Becoming better informed about this plan has taken on more significance recently as the Stevens Point Common Council voted in September to adopt this plan as an official city planning document.
One notable new feature on each Poky Pedal this year was the availability of free vinyl bicycle stickers. These fashionable bicycle accessories give Poky Pedalers a colorful and distinctive way to express their inner Bike Fun. Two different sticker designs were handed out, plus some special limited-edition sticker prizes created exclusively for Bingo winners on the Bike to Shop Day Bingo Ride.
An unexpected theme this year was train blockages. Our path was blocked by trains twice on one Poky Pedal, and once again on another. Although being stuck at a train crossing can sometimes be frustrating, on a Poky Pedal they simply become another opportunity to socialize. This is a great example of the positivity of Bike Fun.
Weather proved to be a challenge this year. In May, heavy rain caused the cancellation of a TGIF Dessert Ride, only the second time in four years that a Poky Pedal was cancelled. Two other TGIF Dessert Rides encountered heavy overcast skies, sadly depriving us of beautiful sunset views. And two other Poky Pedals had weather postponements so that we could enjoy our Bike Fun in more comfortable conditions on another day. Despite our relatively cool and wet season, we were fortunate to encounter many comfortably warm and sunny days for sharing Bike Fun.
Enjoying food and beverage in the company of other Poky Pedalers was a frequent Poky Pedal theme:
- A new monthly Poky Pedal was introduced this year: the TGIF Dessert Ride. These four family-friendly Poky Pedals linked our scenic parks along the Wisconsin River with delicious dessert served up by a couple of local establishments.
Our second season of Poky Pizza Pedals again proved to be popular. This year we shared Bike Fun on four Poky Pizza Pedals, which let us take pleasure biking through scenic neighborhoods prior to feasting on food and beverages at several downtown Stevens Point pizza places.
- Three Poky Pedaling Potluck Picnics included a vast assortment of delicious contributions from Poky Pedalers, both homemade and store-bought, for our picnicking enjoyment. These Poky Pedals were also opportunities to visit several of our wonderful parks. In the four years of Poky Pedaling Potluck Picnics, we have visited 15 different parks and park-like greenspace areas.
- Our final Poky Pedal of the year, the Maple Ride, was capped by an impromptu Bike Fun Banquet. It was a nice way to celebrate the end of another season full of Bike Fun with PPSP.
This recap merely skims the surface of all the Bike Fun shared with PPSP this year. For more detail, click here to read all the Bike Fun Reports from our recently completed season of Poky Pedals.
Although the onset of chillier temperatures is imminent, every winter has its spring. I’m working on the 2016 Bike Fun Calendar, which should be available on the PPSP website in early April. Poky Pedalers can expect the usual mix of history, scenery, and whimsy to satisfy our Bike Fun cravings next year.
In the meantime, keep checking back on the PPSP website. I will continue to write about local bikey topics on the PPSP blog to keep Poky Pedalers informed about what is happening to make bicycling better in the Stevens Point area.
I look forward to once again sharing Bike Fun with all Poky Pedalers in 2016.