April is Valley Bike Month! Valley Metro encourages and celebrates all forms of transportation, including bicycling. Join Brittany and Madeline as they talk all about biking with Valley Metro’s Commute Solutions Program Coordinator Suzanne Day. TaiAnna Yee, City of Tempe PIO for Transportation and Sustainability, joins the episode to share about the importance of mobility to the city and how to participate in local Bike Month activities.
Find out how you can win prizes by putting the pedal(s) to the metal at valleymetro.org/commute-solutions/valley-bike-month.
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of your daily commute?Madeline:
Or how transportation impacts the community you call home?Brittany:
Maybe you want to explore outside your community and don't know where to start.Madeline:
Well, you're in luck because this is where you hop on.Brittany:
I'm Brittany Hoffman.Madeline:
And I'm Madeline Phipps.Brittany:
We work in communications for Valley Metro, and together we'll discover all the ways that public transit enhances lives across the cities we serve.Madeline:
And we might even make some new friends along the way.Brittany:
Welcome to Storylines.Brittany:
Do you remember during the pandemic when there was a bike shortage and you couldn't buy a bike?Madeline:
Yes, I do. It seems like people didn't know what to do with themselves. And biking was one of those hobbies, like baking sourdough bread and watching "Tiger King."Brittany:
Yeah, that was the primo pandemic. That was the beginning. And I went out and bought a bike, not going to lie, and I attached a basket to it with zip ties. Ingenuity.Madeline:
Well, if you're listening to this and you went out and bought a bike two years ago and you haven't used it since then, have we got some news for you! You're going to want to get that thing out of the storage shed because April is Valley Bike Month.Brittany:
Maddie, Bike Month is so important. Did you know that there are close to a million trips on transit that include a bike on a bus?Madeline:
Actually, no, I had no idea. And that's an amazing statistic. Also, for those of you wondering why we're talking about bicycles on our transit transportation podcast, don't forget, first mile, last mile trips are really important when we think about our transportation system and how it's a network. So biking to the light rail station, biking to the bus stop, it's all part of that commuter journey that we want to help facilitate through any means necessary.Brittany:
Exactly Maddie. So while you and I know the transit system very well, there's someone in Valley Metro who knows the biking system even better. So we're going to hear from our Valley Metro expert about biking in the Valley.Suzanne:
I am Suzanne Day. My position at Valley Metro is I'm a program coordinator in a little department we call commute solutions. It is absolutely the perfect job for me. And let's see, this summer I will celebrate my 27th anniversary as a Valley Metro employee.Madeline:
For those of us in the know, something else is coming up, which is Valley Bike Month. So will you tell us about Valley Bike Month? What is it and what does it entail?Suzanne:
I would love to. Valley Bike Month happens in the spring. We work with our member cities and bike clubs and event organizers to celebrate bikes throughout the month. And whether that's for exercise or fun or commuting or all of the above, we're here for it.
We're there for the bike stuff throughout April and even a little bit into March because you know, the month just isn't always long enough. We've got lots of options, lots of things that people can do during Valley Bike Month. Lots of ways that we promote it. Events, challenges, contests, lots of fun.Brittany:
As you were a bike rider before you joined Valley Metro and Valley Bike Month existed, you've been here, you've seen it all. So can you tell us some of the history of Valley Bike Month, past events, memorable events, fun times?Suzanne: e bike month event. It was in: st,:
So we called it "Bike to BOB." They gave us a hundred tickets, their sponsor Circle K threw in 22 tickets, we had 122 tickets to this gigantic event. It was so cold that day. It was a high of about 46 degrees. It was rainy, it was damp, it was miserable.
Every single rider showed up. Every rider showed up. 122 of us.l, gosh, the Great Recession?: Brittany:
That is so awesome! As a huge sports fanatic I am also very jealous of all of these things that happened that I did not know about and take part in. And now people know about all our Valley Bike Month events, right?Suzanne:
Right. Yes. We got clobbered two years ago. Everybody knows it, all the events went away, but they're coming back, and we're looking forward to it and we're doing everything we can to support.Madeline:
Well, that's exciting news, but I do want to take a minute because some of our listeners might be thinking, "I thought this was a transit podcast. Why are we talking about bikes?" So will you explain a little bit about why Valley Metro supports biking efforts and initiatives and really why your job exists at our agency?Suzanne:
The reason my job exists is to support employers in the Maricopa County travel reduction program. That's a mandated program for employers with 50 or more employees. That's why I get to do all the fun things that I do with carpooling and vanpooling and bikes and all the awesomeness.
The reason we as an agency support bikes is because bikes work with transit hand in glove. They are the absolute perfect first mile, last mile solution. In a valley the size of ours, it just makes so much sense to extend your transit trip with a bike. And remember that every bus in our system has rack space for at least two bikes, if not three. And some of the commuter buses I think will hold four or five. So it just makes sense. They augment each other beautifully and we're happy to support bicycling.Brittany:
So we touched a little bit on the history in the past of Valley Bike Month, but we have bike month coming up. So tell us what we're in store.Suzanne:
Valley Bike Month as we know is in April, and there's on the Valley Metro website at valleymetro.org, if people can go and find the Valley Bike Month page, we've got a database that my department runs called ShareTheRide.com. ShareTheRide.com has contests and prizes all the time for all the alternative mode users. In April, we added additional prizes for bike riding. And we also have a challenge. The challenge is people can form teams with their friends or coworkers, or they can have a team of one if they prefer to ride alone, that's cool, they can do that. And prizes are based on who logs the most trips and most miles, and prizes include limited edition challenge winner T-shirts. There are gift cards for restaurants. There's even a bicycle that has been donated by our friends at Costco. So that's all share the ride there and we still have contests for the carpoolers and the bus riders too, because we're nice like that, but we highlight bikes during April.
Then of course also on that Valley Bike Month, page of valleymetro.org, you can find the events that... I want to say Glendale, Tempe, Scottsdale, Chandler, Phoenix, and many bike clubs are all putting on everything from little neighborhood bike rides, this little sunny slope festival that I just love, and a downtown ride to look at public art. There's CycloMesa, which is a big festival and also encompasses El Tour de Mesa, which is a competitive ride.
Chandler, Glendale, just lots of fun all over the Valley. Oh, and Tempe, Tempe does a nice job with their Bike To Work Day. April 20th is the official Bike To Work Day, but anybody who bikes to work during that week will be eligible for, again, special contests in ShareTheRide.com.
I also wanted to mention people can use ShareTheRide.com to locate a bike buddy. Someone to ride with. Because even if somebody likes riding to the park or around the block in their neighborhood, that can be very different from biking to work. So know that you can create an account for yourself at ShareTheRide and search for bike buddies, just like you can search for a carpool partner and reach out to those people.
And I also would welcome emails to myself, I'm SDay@valleymetro.org. If I don't know the area where somebody likes to ride, I probably know somebody who does. And a lot of times that's all it takes is just that little bit of knowledge. Or even someone to say, look, I'll ride with you on Sunday. Let's give it a shot.
And so many of the bike community they'll do that because they are that into it. #bikesbuildcommunity. It's so true.Brittany:
I know that City of Phoenix is working very hard to incorporate more bike lanes as they continue to redevelop their streets and look at how everyone's traveling. What have you seen over your time here at Valley Metro, the growth of the region and really accepting and implementing areas for bikers.Suzanne: I started in this industry in:
So I'm hopeful. I'm really very hopeful. We can't let up and it feels like now's the time.Madeline:
I certainly learned a lot. It's great to hear from our colleagues who have all this experience and have witnessed so much of what we now call Valley Metro history happen right in front of them.Brittany:
Maddie, it's so great to hear from our colleagues who have all this wisdom. I'm so excited for the programs and how they're going to continue to grow and evolve and all these school, things that are happening during Valley Bike Month? Oh baby, I'm excited. I know you're excited. And coming up after the break, get even more excited, 'cause we're talking about prizes!Peter:
Goodbye transit book, we're going digital! Plan your trip and track buses and light rail in real time with the new Valley Metro app. Search for it on the Apple App or Google Play stores.Alex:
Pardon our progress! From April 16th until July 2nd, light rail trains will arrive every 20 minutes system-wide due to construction on the downtown hub in Phoenix. View the full schedule and learn more at ValleyMetro.org/PardonOurProgress.Peter:
Subscribe to RideText to get service updates about your bus, route or train service. Go to ValleyMetro.org/ridetext to find out more.Brittany:
Maddie. I told you after the break we're talking prizes. Are you ready?Madeline:
Lay it on me.Brittany:
Well, I heard a rumor that in Tempe there's prizes for Valley Bike Month. So you're going to want to stick around to find out how you can win prizes and participate in Tempe's activities during Bike Month.Taiyanna:
Hi, I'm Taiyanna Yee. I'm the public information officer for transportation and sustainability with the City of Tempe.Madeline:
Well, I guess that job makes you perfectly positioned to talk with us a little bit about biking and how integral it is in the City of Tempe's planning to help people get around in that city. So will you just talk a little bit about why the City of Tempe promotes and put so much effort behind biking and bike commuters?Taiyanna:
Sure. So Tempe has the highest percentage of bicycle commuters in the state. We are home to the ASU Tempe campus, so we have a lot of students who live either on campus or around campus. We have lots of student housing. So one of the things that we do is that when we plan any streetscapes, any new developments, anything like that, we're always looking to see how can we make sure that our roads are suitable for all road users? So we're not just looking at vehicles, we're looking at transit users, we're looking at pedestrians, we're looking at bicyclists, people who use scooters or skateboards. We just want to make sure that everyone who is on our streets is as safe as they can be. And so that's how we plan the streets in Tempe.Brittany:
So as you said, Diana, it's so important that we get people moving and where they need to go. And biking is really part of a bigger effort by Tempe and Tempe In Motion, right?Taiyanna:
We were probably the first city in the Valley that instituted a Tempe transit tax. And with that Tempe transit tax, what we decided to do was build upon that multimodal transportation. So we built bike paths and bike lanes. We used it to create our Orbit system and basically fund our transit.
So I would say that, what we do in Tempe, like we were kind of lucky in the fact that we are a smaller city. We are landlocked. We can't really build or expand out, which, you know, a lot of other Valley cities, that's kind of what they experienced. So it gets a little bit hard because you're looking at sprawl, whereas, because Tempe is landlocked, we're more about density. So instead of building out, we're building up, and by adding all these students or visitors or just businesses, things like that, we're getting traffic on our streets. And, a lot of people aren't interested in sitting in traffic, or if they are deciding to use the roads, maybe they want to use transit or they want to bike somewhere because sometimes, to be honest, bicycling in Tempe is going to be faster, especially during those morning rush hours or the evening rush hour. So the Tempe In Motion transit tax funds that. And so really what our goal is, is just to keep people moving, regardless of how they're deciding to commute.Madeline:
So you mentioned a lot of the infrastructure that Tempe has in place to support biking. Are there other promotions or events or activities or ways that the City of Tempe promotes biking?Taiyanna:
Every year, Tempe designates April as Tempe Bike Month. I believe national bike month is in May, but if you're from Arizona, you know, that it gets a little too warm to really celebrate biking as much as it should be celebrated. So this year we have our Bike To Work Day on April 20th.
We have six parks in Tempe that we will have tables at where people can, on their way to work or to school, they can stop, they can get a free Tempe Bike Month T-shirt, and then I believe some of the locations will have some breakfast items so they can get a free breakfast.
And then we do have the mayor's ride. The mayor will take you from Kiwanis Park and they'll take you up to Daley Park, which is off of College and close to the Tempe downtown area. And then we are also doing bike bingo, which is new this year. And bike bingo, we have, it's like 24 different activities and whichever way you can get bingo, you'll get a prize for getting bingo, but if you black out the bingo card, we have special prizes.
And with bike bingo, it could be something as simple as waving to a fellow bicycle commuter, or it could be, you know, taking your bike on transit. So, there are just a bunch of fun, different things. And within our bike bingo, we actually partnered with the downtown Tempe authority as well as Culdesac, so if you do one of their squares, you get a prize from those organizations as well.Brittany:
All I hear is prizes. And if anyone knows by listening to Storylines, I love prizes. So I'm all about this! Using your daily exercise by biking to go get prizes and to explore your city and see new things in Tempe. That sounds like a dream come true, but I did hear you mention Daley Park. I know that that is very close to a streetcar.
And so Taiyanna, I think it's important that people know while we're biking around Tempe we also have another new mode streetcar coming online. And what do they need to know about biking around the streetcar?Taiyanna:
Streetcar is a new mode of transit. It's kind of the best of both worlds. So it, you have kind of the fixed route like the light rail, but it also has kind of the stop system, frequent stops like a bus.
So with streetcar, it will be in traffic, which right now it's in the testing phase. So hopefully people are getting used to seeing it out and about and how to interact with it. When you're biking in general, you want to ride with the flow of traffic. That way cars can see you as they approach. Like you want the streetcar to see you as you approach.
So when you're on the road with the streetcar, you want to treat it as if it's another vehicle while you're on the road, you're acting as a vehicle. So you want to stop at the stop light, stop at the stop signs, and then just make sure that you're paying attention to your surroundingsBrittany:
Is there anything else you wanted to tell us Taiyanna?Taiyanna:
So we're also doing social media. And so one of the things that we have realized is that with Vision Zero, which Tempe is a Vision Zero city is that safety is everyone's responsibility. It's not just up to the bicycles or the pedestrians to be paying attention. It's also up to the vehicles.
And so one of the things that we're doing this year to kind of showcase the fact that everyone needs to be safe on the road and, we're not just looking at bicyclists, is we're doing a transportation Thursday where we're going to do safety tips for vehicles and how they should interact with bicycles.
So, you know, giving three feet, always checking twice to make sure that you don't have a bicyclist coming up on your corner before you're turning, checking for bicycles before turning into like a business or a driveway or something like that. So I would say that we're, doing some social media campaigns this year to raise awareness for bicyclists.
All of this can be found at Tempe.gov/BikeMonth.
On the Tempe website, we are listing other bicycling events, like ways you can stay involved. So there's the bicycling summit that's happening I want to say April 8th or 9th. There's also Second Sunday on April 10th, where if you bike to Second Sunday, you get like something free as well.
There are businesses in Tempe that offer like a 10% discount if you bike to them. And so we do have that listed on our website as well. There are things like Four Peaks will give you a 10% discount. Pita Jungle, Snooze, Spokes on Southern. So they're kind of all over the place. It's not just in the downtown area, but those are the businesses that do offer it so we do have that link on our website as well.Brittany:
Well, it makes sense. You could bike to them.Taiyanna:
Okay, Brittany, are you inspired to get your bike out of storage and participate in some events this month?Brittany:
Oh most definitely. The air pump is already going.Madeline:
Well, I'm also excited too. I live pretty close to the canal system, so you know I'm going to be out there enjoying the beautiful weather, taking my bike for a spin. And how great is it that I could win prizes for doing something that I already enjoy anyway.Brittany:
Maddie, anytime you can win prizes it's a good time. And obviously spending time in this fresh air. It's not that hot yet!. Think about it, even the days it's hitting 90, there's 110 in the future. Get out, take your bike out now because it's important. You getting some exercise, you're getting some fresh air and you're saving the planet a little bit of emissions. One trip at a time.Madeline:
Well, if you'd like to participate in challenges, sign up to win prizes and enter contests, learn more about Valley Bike Month at ValleyMetro.org or ShareTheRide.com.Brittany:
Maddie. We did it. We finished another episode of Storylines. Thanks for listening to this episode of Storylines. We've had a blast again. If you haven't subscribed, please subscribe to Storylines wherever you listen to podcasts. For Valley Metro, I'm Brittany.Madeline:
And I'm Madeline.Brittany:
Thanks for riding with us.Madeline:
We'll meet you at the next stop.
Storylines is produced by Peter Corkery, Alex Tsotsos and Dane Ryals. Taylor Dunn is the executive producer. I'm Madeline Phipps with Brittany Hoffman. Thanks for listening.