An event in Springfield is focused on getting people to bike, walk or ride the bus to get to where they're going. Bike, Walk and Wheel Week is May 12-17.
"This is Ozark Greenways' and Springfield's annual celebration of our trails, our on-street bike routes and the bus system and alternative ways to get around town or get to destinations," said Lori Tack, program coordinator for Ozark Greenways, which is coordinating the activities.
Prizes will be awarded to anyone who participates, and Tack said there's a variety of ways to take part.
"So, whether you walk to lunch or you go visit a trail or you can take the bus for free if you're traveling with a bike all week, so it's a perfect time to just get on and try it, go around town and see where you can go," she said.
Joel Alexander, manager of media and energy services at City Utilities, said all large CU buses are equipped with bike racks 0n the front, and bus drivers are happy to help bicyclists load their bikes. But loading a bike is easy as demonstrated by a rider this week. You simply pull a handle, lay down the rack, lift the bike on and secure a bar over the tire.
Alexander assures anyone hesitant to take a city bus somewhere that it's easy to do. And he said people can make it to their locations on time when riding a bus. You just need to plan ahead.
"If you're worried about getting to work or an appointment or something like that, we can still get you there," he said. "You just need to have a little planning to do it."
You can find out more information about riding a CU bus at cutransit.net or call (417) 831-8782 and a scheduler will help you find out which buses to take.
It's easier to get around Springfield than most people think, according to Tack. And she said Ozark Greenways is happy to help anyone who wants to try.
"We welcome questions at our office if you're new to this or you have questions, you know, we will be glad to help people find their routes," she said, "and a lot of times people will call with a question about their route that's easily fixed. They just didn't know, and, so, and important aspect of this event is showing people where the routes are and how to bike properly, to follow the rules of the road so that we can all share the road properly."
Her advice is to plan ahead and check ozarkgreenways.org for maps and tips. And use designated routes with wider shoulders, bike lanes and slower traffice.
Using area trails and buses had an unexpected benefit. Tack said it offers a sense of community.
"When you get out of your car and you meet people face to face, you know, there's such an important social aspect for us," she said. "You know, we need that human interaction. The trails--we call a long skinny front porch, and we never even really realize...the mental health benefits of having that interaction and feeling...that sense of community and belonging."
There are several activities planned May 12-17 as part of Bike, Walk and Wheel Week, including a History & Art Bike Walk Tour, a showing of the movie, "Bikes vs. Cars," Bike Walk to School Day and the Ale Trail brewery to brewery. You can also join Sunrise Coffee and Bicycle Club from 5:50 to 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, May 13-17, at various locations in Springfield.
Find out more about Bike, Walk and Wheel Week or sign up to take part at ozarkgreenways.org.