Festival aims to celebrate, grow bicycling community

sbarr@newsobserver.comMarch 5, 2013 

  • To learn more

    The Oaks and Spokes Bicycle Festival offers free events around Raleigh through March 10. For a complete schedule, go to oaksandspokes.com.

— The Oaks and Spokes Festival kicked off this week to celebrate moving around the city on two wheels.

The weeklong festival started Friday and runs until March 10, with events ranging from a bike-in movie and bike polo to a safety demonstration for children and a “bike-and-build” day with Habitat for Humanity.

“We tried to think of every group of people we could and have something for everyone,” said Lauren Ramsey, one of the festival’s volunteer directors. The events are designed to be social, and everyone from novices to experts is invited to join, she said.

The organizers took their inspiration from other cities where bicycle festivals have been popular, such as Portland, Ore., where an annual bike festival spans weeks.

Ramsey said that since she started biking several years ago, she has seen Raleigh’s cycling community grow, and the festival aims to bring even more people into the fold.

The festival also highlights ongoing bicycling events, such as Benelux Café’s weekly social ride, which takes place every Tuesday starting at 6:30 p.m. from the café in City Market.

Sam Bennett, one of the Benelux ride coordinators and a festival director, said the ride draws 20 to 30 people in the winter and as many as 70 to 80 in the summer. The group splits into two, so that every rider can find a speed they are comfortable with. Afterward, the group gathers in the café for drinks and a raffle.

Bennett said it is common to see people on mountain, road, tandem and fixed-gear bikes, all enjoying the ride.

“It’s come one, come all,” he said.

Barr: 919-836-4952

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