Northern Michigan University holds inaugural Bike Week

Northern Michigan University student Ryan Watling, student bicycle and trails program manager at NMU and Bike Week co-coordinator, greases a bike chain at the academic mall during Tune Up Tuesday. NMU held its inaugural Bike Week to encourage bicycling for students, faculty, staff and community members. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University held its inaugural Bike Week to encourage bicycling for students, faculty, staff and community members.

Hosted by the NMU Recreational Sports, the event was designed to promote health, safety and sustainability in a bike-friendly environment.

“Bike Week is a new idea to increase ridership for students as well as improve bicycle riding habits especially for commuting,” said Ryan Watling, student bicycle and trails program manager at NMU and co-coordinator for Bike Week. “We have a great recreational biking community here and so we wanted to increase biking in terms of just transportation.”

Various events were planned throughout NMU’s campus to promote interest in bike commuting. On Monday, which Watling referred to as an encouragement day, a bike fair with biking resources from area businesses and police was held at the academic mall on campus.

“The police were there, local businesses and everything that kind of supports the local biking community,” he said.

Tune Up Tuesday offered quick free repairs to NMU students, faculty and community members who stopped by the academic mall with their bicycle. Later that day, a group ride took place to further encourage others to bring their bikes out for the spring and summer.

Planned events end today with the first-ever Bike to Campus Day. From 7:30 a.m. to noon participants were invited to ride their bikes to one of the three meet-up locations, the Marquette Food Co-op, Down Wind Sports or Redeemer Church. Under a Bike Week tent at each site riders could enjoy free coffee, bagels and fresh fruit donated by local businesses and enter a raffle for various bike accessories. From there, Wildcat bike commuters could continue riding to campus where an inflatable finish line was set up in the academic mall with music provided by Radio X DJs playing to get riders in a celebratory mood.

Watling, who bikes to campus every day, hopes the event gets others to consider riding to work or school more often.

“If people considered riding maybe once a week, imagine how much better it would be for our health and the earth,” he said.

Corey Kelly can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.