“Bike Fest brings a lot of different people together,” said Jen Hiebert, a volunteer with Bike for Life Moscow, which is helping coordinate the event at Moscow’s Friendship Square.
Hundreds of people typically show up and last year more than 80 bikes were repaired.
The event began in 2007 when Isaak Julye, an Americorps volunteer at the time and bike enthusiast, organized a bike swap. People brought bikes to trade or sell when they were ready for something different. The event has grown and moved over the years and is now coordinated with the first day of the Moscow Farmer’s Market.
Repairs are conducted by staff and volunteers from local bike shops: Paradise Creek Bicycles, Follett’s Mountain Sports and B&L Bicycles. They will have bike stands set up, and repairs and tune-ups are offered free of charge on a first come, first served basis.
But Bike Fest is all things bike, so while the repairing and swapping is going on, there is information on bike safety, local biking groups and opportunities like Bikes for Tikes offered by the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute in Moscow, where kids can borrow used bikes and helmets to ride on pathways at the PCEI Nature Center.
There’s going to be free stuff. The Idaho Department of Transportation has provided safety handouts and safety lights that can be clipped onto backpacks of those riding in low-light. And a favorite giveaway this year are neon-colored bike pins.
“These pins, you can’t just get them anywhere,” said Hiebert. “People just love them.”
Kids activities are another big part of the event, with face paintings and bike-related crafts. There will be supplies on hand to decorate bike helmets and yarn to decorate bike frames and wheel spokes.
Kids aren’t the only ones decorating bikes with yarn this season. In preparation for this summer’s Artwalk, Bike for Life Moscow and The Yarn Underground have partnered for a Bicycle Yarn Bombing Project — a whimsical combination of creativity and fun.
“You cover an object with knitting — in this case we’ll be doing bicycles, helmets and bike parts,” said Hiebert. “We were looking to do something bike-related and artistic, so this was the perfect combination.”
Yes, knitting around a bike will render it unusable, so they’re getting owner permission before assailing the items with needles and yarn. Those interested in participating in the project can apply at Bike Fest.
The event is also collecting donations for Village Bicycle Project. Village Bicycle Project is a Moscow-based nonprofit that collects bikes, which are sent to Ghana and Sierra Leone for villagers to use for transportation. Bikes are collected either for direct use or for parts, whose sales fund the cost of shipping. Besides providing bikes, the organization also trains people how to ride and take care of their bike.
Bike Fest is coordinated by Julye and other volunteers from Bike for Life Moscow, an informal group that promotes bicycling in Moscow.
“We want to promote cycling as a healthy way to get around and get some exercise, any time of year, no matter how old or young you are,” Hiebert said.
if you go
WHAT: Bike Fest
WHEN: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, May 4
WHERE: Friendship Square, Main and Fourth streets, Moscow
Looking for more to do on your bike downtown Saturday?
The 2013 Palouse Prize Ride is a non-racing biking event where participants ride (or otherwise travel) to five different businesses and draw a playing card that together form a poker hand. At the end of the event, the participant with the highest poker hand from each age group will win a bike. All participants will receive a T-shirt.
The businesses, which are also sponsors, are Inland Cellular, American West Bank, Gritman Medical Center, Pickard Orthodontics and Eastside Marketplace. Paradise Creek Bicycles also helps to sponsor the event.
The event begins in Friendship Square at 11 a.m. and ends there at 12:30 p.m. To participate, register through the Moscow Parks and Recreation Department website at moscowrecreation.sportsites.com from now until Saturday. The cost is $11 and proceeds are donated to the City of Moscow Youth Scholarship fund for recreation activities.