Ames Bike Coalition celebrates National Bike Month


An ISU student heads home on her bike after a meeting in Kildee Hall. The Ames Bicycle Coalition is celebrating Bike to Work Week from May 11 to 15, and Friday is Bike to Work Day.

Jordan Reding

Bicycling provides opportunities to get exercise and meet new people.

The Ames Bicycle Coalition is a group of community members dedicated to the development of safe infrastructure for cyclists in Ames. The ABC collaborates with community partners to improve and expand safe, modern and enjoyable bicycle transportation and recreation networks in Ames through advocacy and education.

The coalition is celebrating National Bike Month by raising awareness for bicycling and hosting numerous events for bikers during the month of May.

Work places in Ames are encouraged to support bike commuting during “Bike to Work Week” this week and “Bike to Work Day” on Friday.

“We want people to bike more [and] drive less,” said Carol Williams, member of the Ames Bicycle Coalition.

The coalition wants everyone to be safe and happy while commuting by bike. To create a safe biking environment, members are working to create better infrastructure for bicycling in Ames.

The infrastructure would include separate bike lanes and sharrows, which are lane markings indicating a certain traffic lane is shared with bicyclists.

There are plenty of bike trails in Ames, but the bike coalition would like to see more lanes for bicycles on the roads.

“We aren’t very far on the road facilities in Ames and there is a lot of work to be done,” Williams said.

Because of the increasing student population at Iowa State, the biking population in Ames has increased as well.

“We have a very healthy population of cyclists here in Ames,” Williams said.

There are also benefits of a community that bikes. People who bike are healthier, create less traffic congestion and air pollution, and get the opportunity to meet other cyclists. 

“Biking has a lot of benefits and we want to see the Ames community take advantage of those,” Williams said.

The coalition partners with local community groups to offer a variety of events to Ames citizens, all centered around the enjoyment of bicycling. The events include bicycle commuter breakfasts, handlebar happy hours, movie nights and a picnic.

The coalition’s goal is to encourage people to use their bikes when they commute to work, school, run errands or meet friends for a coffee.

“Our goal for the events is to encourage people to bike,” Williams said.

The coalition also wants cyclists to stay safe.

“We want students to learn how to cycle safely in Ames and enjoy it,” Williams said.

Jacob Nolte is the public relations officer for the coalition and an ISU graduate.

Nolte has commuted entirely by bicycle for the past three years in Ames. He commutes about seven blocks to his job downtown and uses his bike as a Jimmy Johns deliveryman in Campustown.

“Rain or snow, I bike every day,” Nolte said.

He thinks bicycling in Campustown is different than other areas of Ames.

“Commuting by bike in Campustown is different than the rest of Ames because the people there are more familiar with bikes and sharing the road,” Nolte said.

He also discussed some of the benefits he receives from commuting by bicycle.

“Not having to buy gas is the number one benefit,” Nolte said. “I also don’t ever have to worry about finding a parking spot and I get good exercise.”

Nolte encourages everyone to get out and bike, explaining that biking is easier than most people think.

“You don’t have to be in great shape or buy a $1,000 bike. You can ride as slow or fast as you want and it’s just a great form of exercise,” Nolte said.

The Ames Bike Coalition encourages everyone to participate in national bike month this May.