How to Celebrate National Bike Month in Raleigh

Raleigh rolls out a slew of events to celebrate National Bike Month.

Wheels up! It’s National Bike Month, and Raleigh is kicking it into gear with a slew of happenings around town. 

Sponsored and promoted by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month, est. 1956, has been celebrated in communities countrywide ever since—with the City of Raleigh pedaling onboard for the past 15 years. Beyond getting to the cycology of the wheelie fab benefits worth taking a brake for, citywide monthlong events also tout the transportation triumphs of rolling around on two tires.

As a fast-growing community, Raleigh is experiencing more transportation issues than ever, so “it’s important for the City to promote Bike Month because biking and bike commuting are important for the long-term health and sustainability of our community,” says Andrea Epstein, senior communications liaison for the City of Raleigh’s Transportation Department. “The more people that start biking over driving, the better quality of life we create for everyone. By being a fervent supporter of Bike Month, the City proudly stands behind this vision, as well as providing cyclists of all levels and experience the information, tools and encouragement they need to be better cyclists, commuters and champions of cycling.”

In a nod to those efforts, this year, the city rolled out its largest bike mural yet—parked at Exploris Middle School—by local artivist Mayanthi Jayawardena, who installed the mural during April as “an inspiring and prominent welcome to cyclists entering downtown Raleigh,” says Epstein. 

“The City’s participation grows every year,” adds Epstein, “and we offer as much support as possible to our community partners as they are producing events. We also look every year at developing new programs and activities to support our growing bike community.”

So, in support of National Bike Month, here are some off-the-chain ways to rack up some miles and #bikethere on National Ride A Bike Day May 7, or make the most of those two wheels at any of these local events all monthlong.

May 3: National Walk, Bike & Roll to School Day

Ditch four wheels for two! Oaks and Spokes, in partnership with Safe Routes to School Wake County, is offering free planning services to Raleigh schools to participate in National Walk, Bike & Roll to School Day May 3 (or any other day in May). The event inspires kids and families to take an active route to school, and Wake County Schools that register early can get free prize kits.

May 5: Bike Bonanza

As part of DRA’s First Friday, Raleigh Union Station Plaza will be hosting a Bike Bonanza feat. beats, popsicles from Raleigh Popsicle Co., a photo booth, plus plenty o’ other vendors worth rolling out for. To boot, AAA of the Carolinas will be handing out free bike helmets (!); Raleigh Riders will demonstrate tandem bike riding and recruit volunteers for greenway rides; Raleigh Bike Polo will demonstrate and educate visitors on the sport; and Oaks and Spokes will host a bike decoration station and free bike servicing. 4–7pm, 510 W. Martin St.

May 6: Marbles Bike Rodeo

You can never be two-tired for this kid-friendly event hosted by the Marbles Kids Museum in partnership with Raleigh Police District’s Southeast District Community squad and Oaks and Spokes. The Bike Rodeo teaches young riders and would-be riders about bike safety while practicing their riding skills vai obstacle course, plus other activities including a Bike Bling Make Shop, bike swap, helmet fittings and maintenance checks. 9:30am–noon, 201 E. Hargett St.

May 6: Mural Ride & Movie in the Park

The best way to see all of Raleigh’s stunning murals is by bike, natch. Ride along with Oaks & Spokes to see the city’s finest street art, beginning and ending at the “It Starts Here!” mural in Dix Park. Post-ride, stick around for a showing of fam-friendly flick Inside Out. 6pm, 801 Biggs Drive

May 10: Oak City Cycling Basic Maintenance Class

BYO bike on the second Wednesday of each month to learn basic bike maintenance from Oak City Cycling. 7pm, 707 N. Person St.

May 16: Brews and Bikes

Just brew it and head to the Exchange Plaza for a morning treat and coupon for a free cuppa joe from Left Hook Coffee—NTM a complimentary bike tuneup for all DTR employees. 10am–noon, 219 Fayetteville St.

May 18: Third Thursday Cruiser Ride

Slow your roll via this casual fam-friendly ride with Oak City Cycling—a special Bike Month edition of its Third Thursday cruiser ride. 7pm, 707 N. Person St.

May 19: Bike to and From Work Day

Switch up your commute by biking to and from work—with pit stops along the way upping the fun factor. En route, make a pit stop at Oak City Cycling for coffee and mini scones from Yellow Dog Bread Co.—and grab a minor bike adjustment if needed—or swing by Crank Arm after work for happy hour brews. Other pit stops include the Raleigh Municipal Building, Raleigh Union Station and Toole Design Group. Cheers to a more sustainable commute!

May 24: Discover Downtown Sustainability Biking Tour

We’re all for sustainability in numbers. This tour takes riders through DTR’s most sustainable spots, from Moore Square Park to Raleigh Union Station to 301 Hillsborough (which features a beehive and bike room). Post-ride, the City of Raleigh Sustainability Team will provide an overview of its Community Climate Action Plan along with complimentary bevs. 4–6pm, 201 S. Blount St.

May 24: Light Up the Night Ride

Motley crew meets motley hues with Oaks and Spokes and Crank Arm Brewing’s brightest bike ride of the year! Deck out your bike, helmet and clothes with lights and cruise around town before parking it at Crank Arm to enjoy some suds, natch. Bonus: 10% of beer sales will be donated to Oaks and Spokes. Stay flashy! 7pm, 319 W. Davie St.

Throughout May: Bike Month at Forest Ridge Park

More of the trail-riding type? Book it to Forest Ridge Park throughout May for a series of events: Celebrate International Women’s Mountain Biking Day May 6 with a guided mountain bike ride specifically for female riders; bring your kiddos May 13 for a Balance Bike Obstacle Course; go on an intro to mountain biking group ride May 20; or learn how to change flat tires, adjust gears and brakes, and perform general maintenance on bikes via the bike maintenance clinic also May 20. 

June 1: Bicycle Book Club

The bike fun doesn’t have to end with the turn of the calendar page. Stay tuned in as Oaks and Spokes and So & So Books pulls up the kickstand on their inaugural book club, focusing on the cycling book Just Ride by Grant Petersen which hopes to inspire riders to focus on the simple joys of cycling. 719 N. Person St.

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About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.