St. Helenans of all ages are being encouraged to ride their bikes in September during Walk and Roll to School month.
Cycling promotes good health, reduces traffic congestion and improves air quality, said Denise Henquet Sprengers and Erin Dempsey of the St. Helena Active Transportation & Sustainability Committee, which is leading the month-long campaign.
Reducing total vehicle miles traveled – a traffic metric favored by the state of California – will be one of St. Helena’s goals under the new General Plan, they added.
Organizers are especially targeting students at St. Helena Elementary School who are just becoming independent enough to ride on their own and with their friends. There will be energizer stations and special events at the elementary school every Wednesday in September.
With more kids riding their bikes, Sprengers and Dempsey said drivers should be extra-careful during September, especially at peak hours when kids are riding to and from school. They advised drivers to watch out for young cyclists and watch for oncoming bikes when opening their vehicle doors.
The first event is a bike rodeo organized by the Napa County Bicycle Coalition at 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, at the St. Helena Montessori School on College Avenue.
There will be other events every Wednesday, starting with the official kick-off event at 4:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, at the Clif Family Tasting Room on Vidovich Avenue.
The Bruschetteria food truck will offer kid-friendly items like stickers, patches and bars. The Calistoga Bike Shop will offer free bike tune-ups, Nimbus Arts will organize a bike art project, and the Napa County Bicycle Coalition will provide free bike valet service.
There will also be bike rodeos during school hours on Wednesdays, Sept. 11 and 18, at the elementary school, organized by the St. Helena Police Department, Napa County Office of Education, and St. Helena Cyclery.
The bicycle-themed documentary “Motherload” will be shown at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at Lyman Park.
Mountain biking clubs are organizing a themed Walk and Roll to School Day on Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the elementary school, with riders decked out in their favorite themed outfits.
The month concludes with a Walk and Roll to School Day on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at the elementary school. The Napa County Office of Education will hand out a Golden Sneaker Trophy to the class with the most walk and bike trips, and the Napa County Bicycle Coalition and St. Helena Cyclery will offer a bike giveaway.