After two years with no public celebration of Bike to Work Day in Newark, the event returned to the University of Delaware’s Mentors’ Circle on May 20, 2022. More than 50 participants enjoyed breakfast food and messages from local officials before continuing their bicycle commute to work.
BikeNewark partnered with the City of Newark, University of Delaware, DelDOT, and the Newark Bike Project to welcome bicycle commuters.
BikeNewark’s Bob McBride acted as emcee for the proceedings, which included messages by local officials (City Manager Tom Coleman, Newark Mayor Stu Markham, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer, state Sen. David Sokola, and state Rep. Paul Baumbach), the presentation of this year’s Community Leader Award, and a group photo.
Attendees enjoyed breakfast food, picked up free event T-shirts (courtesy of the Delaware Bicycle Council and DelDOT), and picked up information from event supporters (UD Employee Health & Wellbeing, DelDOT, Delaware Commute Solutions, and BikeNewark).
Former Newark mayor Polly Sierer received the 2022 Bicycle Friendly Community Leader Award for her years of encouragement and support of bicycling in Newark. Her work as mayor and later contributions as a private citizen have led directly to the implementation of a signed Newark Bikeways low-stress network, five of a planned eight segments of which have been completed to date.
After the closing group photo, McBride, Meyer, and Markham joined forces to present a social media message of encouragement.
Next year’s event will be held on Friday, May 19, and will be bigger and better than ever. BikeNewark is hoping that more local businesses and organizations will not only support this event but promote bicycle commuting to their employees as a more healthy, cost-saving, and planet-honoring, and fun method of getting to work.
Photos, courtesy of the University of Delaware, were taken by Kathy Atkinson.
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.
Though 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.
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.
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.
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