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May is National Bike Month, a celebration of all things cycle-related. You'd be forgiven if you thought every month was bike month in Cleveland, however: The city's passionate, robust and supportive two-wheel community has a packed events calendar catering to riders of all skill levels. Here are just a few races and gatherings, all of which are guaranteed to get your heart pumping. For a more comprehensive list, Bike Cleveland has a detailed, day-by-day calendar with events. Get pedaling!
Night Rides on the Towpath Trail
Various Saturdays, May 13-September 30 (check listings above)
For nearly a quarter century, the Towpath Trail has offered bikers the chance to take night rides. This year is no different: On spring and summer Saturdays, riders can gather at 8 p.m. at Century Cycles' Peninsula store (Rt. 303 between Rt. 8 and I-271, next to the Winking Lizard Tavern) and embark on a 14-mile ride. Be sure to mark your calendar for special rides, such as Pajama Party Night (June 24) and the Conservancy for CVNP fundraiser (August 26).
These 10-mile races--which are casual and open to all female-identifying people--are part of a global movement of cyclists to "honor the past, celebrate the present and empower the future." Local races start at 3 p.m. May 13 at Eddy's Bike Shop in Willoughby, and 2 p.m. May 14 at Tremont's Lincoln Park.
Ride of Silence
At 6:30 p.m., cyclists will gather at Willard Park (a.k.a. the green space by the Free Stamp in Downtown Cleveland) for "a silent slow-paced ride in honor of those who have been injured or killed while riding a bicycle on our public roadways." A Cleveland bike patrol officer will escort the group as it winds its way east through the city and ends up at Case Western Reserve University.
Brandywine Ski Resort in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is doing double duty as a bicycling haven on June 4, thanks to the new "sportiva" BikeSpark. The event, which benefits cycling advocacy, offers routes of 15, 30 and 65 miles, as well as plenty of scenic routes through the Cleveland and Summit Metroparks, delicious treats, and outdoor fun and camaraderie. In fact, riders can enjoy lunch from Fresh Fork Market, and adult beverages courtesy of Sibling Revelry Brewing, after completing the routes. Tickets of varying prices are available now.
Pan Ohio Hope Ride
As the name implies, this popular event, during which riders raise money for the American Cancer Society, is a multi-day ride from Cincinnati to Cleveland. Participants can do the entire route, or simply do a leg or two; the route is divided into four manageable day trips. You'll have access to mechanic and medical support; three meals a day; fuel-up rest areas every 18-20 miles; transportation to the race start, for riders of the entire trip; and accommodations on college campuses.
VeloSano (which means "swift cure" in Latin) has a simple premise: People sponsor cyclists, who in turn pledge to raise a certain amount of money corresponding to a bike ride of a certain distance. All of this money goes to cancer research at the Cleveland Clinic. The numbers are impressive: During its three years in existence, VeloSano has raised $8 million.
Bike MS: Buckeye Breakaway 2017
This race kicks off and ends at Brunswick High School, and offers routes of 30, 62, 75 or 100 miles, spread across either one or two days. The latter category of riders stays overnight at Ashland University and enjoy dinner, activities and live music. Better still? The ride is a fundraiser for the National MS Society.
September 8 & 9
The "nation's largest urban cycling festival" has a little something for everyone, no matter what your speed: races and competitions, a night ride, endurance routes and the MCPc Fundo, the latter of which offers paths of 10, 31 and 62 miles around Cleveland neighborhoods. The Edgewater Park-located festival also boasts music, food trucks, beer, vendors and plenty of other activities, making it a must-stop destination even if you aren't on two wheels.