All right, maybe you can’t change the world by winning, or giving away, a couple of bicycles. But it’s clear that the bicycle essay contest sponsored by Healthy Shasta, The Bike Shop and the Safe Routes to School program is aiming to influence more than the one adult and one child who win new bikes.
I see the bike giveaway and associated essay contest as one more turn of the pedals toward making the Redding area a bicycle-friendly place.
Thanks to an expansive network of paved multi-use paths, dirt trails and lightly traveled country roads, our area earns high praise for recreational cycling opportunities. However, the situation is less ideal if you need to get somewhere – the office, the grocery store, school – on a bike. Thankfully, a number of government agencies, civic groups and bicycle proponents are pushing things slowly but surely in the right direction, as evidenced by two new routes for bicyclists to cross the Sacramento River, the popularity of new bike racks, new bicycle master plans and near-term bike lane improvements in East Redding. The bicycle giveaway is an educational and awareness component to the movement.
To win a bike, adults and children in fourth through eighth grades need to submit an essay answering the question, “How would a bicycle change your life?” The idea is to get people thinking about how they could use a bicycle for basic transportation, and how riding a bike would affect their health and their communities.
Obviously, most entrants won’t ride home on a new bike, but they will have considered for a few moments the personal and big-picture advantages of cycling. Maybe they’ll come up with the means to buy a bicycle. Maybe they’ll become advocates. At the very least, they’ll serve as examples to those of us dragging around a car.
The adult winner will get the Trek Belleville bicycle that is on display as part of Turtle Bay Exploration Park’s Sustainable Choices exhibition. This is a very nice ride built especially for commuters. It has a front basket, chain guard, a generator light and top-end panniers. The youth winner will get an appropriate size Trek.
Adult essays of up to 500 words and student essays of up to 300 words are due by April 10. The new Treks will be awarded during Bike Commute Week in May. For details and to learn how to enter the contest, check out Sustainable Choice or visit the Healthy Shasta website.
• Better than a soup kitchen … Tehama County’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is hosting a “celebrity soup kitchen” on Friday, February 18, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Red Bluff Elks Lodge, 355 Gilmore Road. Chefs from more than a dozen restaurants will provide the soup, and other benefactors will supply the bread and salad. Live music, a no-host bar and a big raffle complete the evening. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased from the Red Bluff-Tehama County Chamber of Commerce (530-527-6220) or at the door. Funds raised at the event will benefit RSVP.
• Far better than average … Congratulations to Foothill High School student Katarina Schmidt and Shasta High School students Yarrow Greaney and Matthew Gunther for earning National Merit Scholarship finalist status. The distinction places them amongst the top 1 percent of high school seniors in the country.
• Better for the environment … Scientists and other experts are scheduled to discuss the results of 10 years of monitoring Lower Clear Creek ecosystem restoration during a public meeting at 6 p.m. on February 24 at the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District office, 6270 Parallel Road, in Anderson. A big collection of agencies has worked since 1995 to reverse decades of abuse to the creek, and, as anyone who has visited the Clear Creek Gorge lookout during the fall knows, the salmon and steelhead have returned.
• Better slow down … Caltrans will have traffic controls on Highway 96 near Happy Camp until at least February 23 while crews remove material from a recent landslide. Expect delays of up to 15 minutes.
Paul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and could use a bowl of hot soup about now. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at email@example.com.
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