Do you have a bicycle hanging in the garage? The weather is warming up so it’s time to “air up” the tires and check out the fun-filled 17-day event scheduled for April 25 through May 11 in the Queen City called BIKE! Charlotte. The Charlotte Department of Transportation Bicycle Program and Charlotte Sports Cycling are teaming to promote more than two weeks of exciting ventures for two-wheel enthusiasts of all abilities and skill levels.

BIKE! Charlotte is a multi-day celebration created to inspire families, friends and colleagues to break out the bicycle and integrate it into their daily routine. Whether used for transportation, recreation or both, the bicycle is an efficient, nonpolluting mode of travel that provides great health benefits and is just plain fun to ride. The theme for the 14th annual event, “Riding for a Better Community,” was used to encourage the citizens of Charlotte to incorporate the bicycle in their life. That can be as simple as taking a short trip to the bank, the grocery store or the post office. Our goal with BIKE! Charlotte is to empower, educate and encourage the populace that integrating the bicycle in your life can be simple and is quite rewarding.

Many of the two-wheel activities and promotions organized during BIKE! Charlotte are free to the general public and are designed for cycling enthusiasts of all ages and abilities. This year’s event kicks off on Friday, April 25, and continues for the next two weeks. While all three weekends during the 17-day span are packed full of  exciting guided family rides, bicycle tours and demos, the first weekend features the ever-popular closed street festival called Plaza-Midwood Bikefest. During the weekdays, many of our local bicycle shops offer bicycle maintenance seminars that feature tasks as simple as changing a flat tire and roadside repair clinics. Education and safety are a big part of BIKE! Charlotte. We organize multiple Kids’ Bicycle Safety Rodeos where we teach youth the rules of the road and provide free helmets to participants.

Whether you’re new to cycling, an avid rider or simply an enthusiast with a bike hanging in the garage, it’s time to break out the bike and “air up” the tires; there’s an event for you during BIKE! Charlotte. A detailed list of BIKE! Charlotte events is located at www.bikecharlotte.org.