Bike to Work Day 2018

photo of 2018 Bike to Work Day participants (photo by Kathy Atkinson, courtesy of UD)

Newark celebrated National Bike to Work Day on Monday, May 21, the event having been rescheduled from May 18 due to rain. The first sunny day in a week saw more than 70 riders converge on Mentors’ Circle on the University of Delaware campus for the early morning event.

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sponsors graphic - Mayor’s Fun Ride, Little Goat Coffee Roasting Co., Bloom Energy, Trek Bicycle Newark, STAR Health, and WILMAPCOThough ridership was a bit off what we’d experienced over the past couple years, the event enjoyed great support in terms of sponsorships, which allowed us to this year to include a “grand prize” of a new Trek hybrid bicycle.

Speakers and attendees alike rode in, each in one of six area “bike trains.” This year we missed what would have been the largest group, from event sponsor Bloom Energy, as they could not attend due to a plant-wide production meeting. Attendees enjoyed light breakfast fare and coffee, supplied by the Little Goat Coffee Roasting Co., and garnered free “Bike Month Delaware 2018” T-shirts, courtesy of DelDOT in cooperation with the Delaware Bicycle Council.

University of Delaware Vice Provost Matt Kinservik officially welcomed everyone, giving some personal testimony to the positive changes that are occurring in Newark in terms of bicycling and how bicycling has influenced his own commute. He referred to what may be happening within our sphere of influence here in Newark as “Copenhagenization.”

Dressed in her Bike Delaware jacket, Newark Mayor Polly Sierer graced the podium next and listed the number of important infrastructure improvements that will be taking place within the next several years that will enhance the bicycling experience here in Newark, already a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community.

photo of Matt Meyer (photo by Kathy Atkinson, courtesy of UD)
New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, himself an avid bicyclist, was the event’s keynote speaker.

The morning’s featured speaker, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, spoke about his vision for bicycle connectivity throughout the county and put a local spin on what Kinservik had said, coining a new phrase—“NewCastleCountyization.”

BikeNewark Chair and event emcee, Mark Deshon, mentioned that the League of American Bicyclists had not yet released information about Newark’s most current Bicycle Friendly Community designation. Instead, Deshon pointed to a recent People For Bikes assessment and ranking of the City of Newark. The City is ranked 39th nationwide and 7th among cities with a population under 100,000 in terms of bikeability, according to data the organization gathered.

photo of Bicycle Friendly Community Leader Award presentation (photo by Kathy Atkinson, courtesy of UD)
State Sen. Dave Sokola (left) and BikeNewark Chair Mark Deshon (right), join John Bare (second from left), as he receives Bicycle Friendly Community Leader Award from event coordinator Mike Fortner.

This year the City of Newark and BikeNewark presented the annual Bicycle Friendly Community Leader Award to Bike Delaware’s John Bare. Bare was chosen because of the groundwork he laid for the Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act, which was signed into law in October 2017 here in Newark.

In the words of Bike Delaware Executive Director James Wilson, “John not only created the initial draft of the legislation in September of 2016 but was also involved at every step with all the many revisions right up until the bill was finally filed in May of 2017, more than seven months later.”

Newark-area state Senator Dave Sokola was the bill’s co-sponsor, and he spoke to the gathered attendees about the facets of the new law and added a few words about the work done by John Bare on the bill. Then Bare came to the mic and shared how this bill had been something that he’d been working toward for many years.

photo of bicycle giveaway winner Mary Ellen Gray (photo by Kathy Atkinson, courtesy of UD)
Mary Ellen Gray was both surprised and happy as the random winner of the Trek bicycle giveaway.

A large group photo was organized, and then event coordinator Mike Fortner, one of BikeNewark’s liaisons from the City of Newark, joined Deshon to make the morning fun by giving away a couple give certificates to local restaurants. Then, to cap off the event, the Trek bicycle winner’s name—Mary Ellen Gray—was drawn by a Trek Bicycle Newark employee and the bicycle was presented to her.

2019’s Bike to Work Day event in Newark will take place on Friday, May 17. BikeNewark looks forward to seeing you there.

Photographs by Kathy Atkinson, courtesy of the University of Delaware

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Bike to Work Day 2017

Bike to Work Day 2017 group photo

Bike to Work Day 2017 sponsor logosNewark’s celebration of National Bike to Work Day, by all estimates, was a big success, drawing nearly 120 riders to Mentors’ Circle on the University of Delaware campus for the early morning event.

The warm, sunny weather definitely helped increase the participation in this event from previous years, as did the great support in terms of sponsorship from the business community, which furnished the food and prizes for the random giveaways.

Several of the featured speakers rode in, each with one of several area “bike trains.” The largest and most impressive bike train was that of Bloom Energy. As University of Delaware Provost Domenico Grasso was beginning to officially welcome everyone, a group of 30+ riders from Bloom arrived, making their corporate presence known with team T-shirts.

The morning featured wonderfully encouraging bicycle-centric messages from New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, state Sen. Dave Sokola, state Rep. Paul Baumbach, state Rep. Ed Osienski, and retiring Newark City Manager Carol Houck.

photo of Markell family with Mike Fortner and Mark Deshon
Event coordinator Mike Fortner (left) and BikeNewark chair Mark Deshon (right) presented the 2017 Bicycle Friendly Community Leader Award to former Gov. Jack Markell. Markell’s mother, Leni, and children, Michael (with award) and Molly, accepted the award on his behalf.

The City of Newark and BikeNewark presented the annual Bicycle Friendly Community Leader Award to former Gov. Jack Markell. Markell was in Italy on a bicycle trip, so his mother and children were there to accept the award on his behalf. Son Michael spoke glowingly about the influence his dad has had on him in terms of bicycling and giving back to the community.

A large group photo was organized, and then event coordinator Mike Fortner, one of BikeNewark’s liaisons from the City of Newark, made the morning especially happy for many who had stayed for the random giveaways as a formal conclusion to the morning’s festivities.

2018’s Bike to Work Day event in Newark will take place on Friday, May 18. BikeNewark looks forward to seeing you there.

Newark celebrates National Bike to Work Day

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group photo at 2016 Bike to Work Day event

On May 20, 2016, the Newark Bicycle Committee organized its annual Newark celebration of National Bike to Work Day. It was a great day and a good turnout. Thanks to committee member and City of Newark Planner Mike Fortner for all his efforts in organizing this event on behalf of the committee. This year we honored retired former Newark Department of Parks & Recreation head Charlie Emerson for his noteworthy contributions to the bicycling community, primarily in the role of the project head for both the James F. Hall and Pomeroy multi-use trails.