As we reach the end of May, we’re also coming to the end of Bike Month. Though many of us can barely imagine going on a weekly bike ride, there is a group of people that rely on their bikes to get them around every single day.
They are people like Christina Calhoun, who is not only a cycling enthusiast and bike commuter; she’s also the event coordinator for a World Record attempt ride.
On May 31, the last day of Bike Month, in Wichita, Kansas, she hopes to assemble the longest line of bike/riders ever. At 1:00 p.m., the goal is to have 1,200 riders gather at the annual River Festival and set a new World Record.
“We want to grow the community’s interest in biking as a lifestyle, as a hobby, as a form of exercise, and alternative transportation,” Calhoun said.
“Getting people together in a fun social atmosphere at no cost encourages the idea that biking can be practical and fun, which helps make it more appealing in everyday situations, like on errands or for whole-family outings/exercise.”
First and foremost, the event needs participants, but Calhoun said they are also accepting any small merchandise items, promotional materials, shop coupons, etc. that businesses would donate for rider packets or the overall event. Any contribution would be tax deductible.
In return for a donation, their logo will be featured on the ride’s website and on banners at the event. Additionally, they would have the option to set up a station at the event with a waived vender fee.
“We’re also networking with local bike shops, clubs, and other bike-related organizations to spread the word about our event, simultaneously promoting their services and offering people an introduction to the local network of resources for bike activities.”
Building that network of support and resources is important to the growing bike community in Wichita, which Calhoun said is definitely counter-culture.
“To say, ‘I want to go slower, I want to own less, I want to know my sources,’ makes you the odd one out. I’ve found that my generation is increasingly open to those arguments and bit by bit, in the right places and with support we’re challenging that mainstream.”
Events like the World Record attempt are a way for people to have an “aha” moment about riding like Calhoun did a little over two years ago.
“I was in a car accident and didn’t have money for the fix right away, so I started riding my bike in the interim and it just stuck,” she said.
“I eventually junked the car and made it a real lifestyle choice because it proved to be so rewarding, efficient, and much simpler than car life…Half the fun of bike events like this [World Record attempt] is seeing people catch on to that magic.”
To participate in the Longest Line of Bicycles World Record attempt in Wichita, and maybe catch some magic of your own, meet at the Hyatt Wichita Downtown on May 31. Registration and rider check-in begins at noon.