Raleigh, NC is gearing up for Oaks and Spokes, a bicycle festival kicking off March 1 and running through March 10. Get your tires pumped up for a bicycle-themed art show, alleycat, bike polo tournament, tweed ride, bike-in movie, frankenbike parts swap, bike and build for charity, velolympiad games night and much more. Head over to oaksandspokes.com for more details on all the fun.
Do I need to give you 10 reasons? Maybe you were already convinced, but I still think you should read on...
1) It's 10 DAYS long. We know you're busy, but with a schedule of all these events spanning two weekends, there's GOT to be an event that you can make. From pure bicycle advocacy at NC Rides to the Capitol to riding with friends to see a Bike-In Movie about the world's toughest mountain bike race (featuring a Triangle local), there's got to be something for you. Some days even have more than one event!
2) You asked for it! The Triangle Tweed Ride, Raleigh Bikes Art Show, and WESACat are back by popular demand. Anyone who attended one of these events before knows that it's not going to be your regular sign up and ride. That's why you want to do it again. We're going to give out some fabulous lights from Planet Bike and unique posters from City Fabric as prizes to the best in show at the Tweed Ride. Anyone want to put on a seersucker ride this summer? You asked for that too. I just don't have enough time!
3) Keep it local. Since the entire festival is grassroots organized, it feels local. It feels different. Although we've got a few sponsors to pay tribute to, there aren't all kinds of ads in your face and you don't have to spend a ton of money to do it. Most of the events are entirely free! We're growing cycling as a form of transportation here in the Triangle. That's our motivation. Don't you want to be a part of that?
4) Build community. Two of the more unique events to the line-up are Bike & Build (inspired by the cross country cycling rides to build affordable housing for Habitat for Humanity). This event is scaled this down to the local level so you can participate in a ride and build here in your own community.
5) Get gritty. Raleigh's got a new sport and it's blowin' up. Come see some mallet-to-mallet action at the Oak City Open and cheer triangle-area teams in a regional bike polo tournament. Try your hand at it and you might just get hooked.
6) Beer. Everyone enjoys a pint, especially people who ride bikes. There will be plenty of opportunities to imbibe during the festival: enjoy New Belgium after the Triangle Tweed Ride, during the Frankenbike Parts Swap, and after the Benelux Cafe Social Ride. How about some cold off-the-tap Big Boss brews while watching the Bike-In Movie? Drink responsibly, of course.
7) Spruce Your Ride. Polish up those Campy parts you've been collecting in neatly labeled shoeboxes, grab your vintage Peugeot that you don't ride anymore, tuck a Mavic wheelset under your arm, and take your wares down to the Frankenbike Part Swap. Look through the eclectic offerings for a must-have addition to your ride, perhaps a new-old-stock Biopace crank set or tube of butt butter. Craigslist is never this fun. Also, many of the events have prizes -- you might just ride into a brisk March sunset with a new set of panniers, a bell, or some other new feature!
8) Challenge Yourself. Can you ride for six hours straight? I've got a trophy on my desk that says I can ride for twenty-four so I'm sure you can ride six. At Crank for a Cause sign up to ride competitively or for fun, raising money for charity as you put on those miles. If you're not feeling up to the full challenge but still want to get in the games, participate in the Velolympiad which will challenge you mind over matter in other ways.
9) Something for Everyone. Have a future Fausto Coppi in the house? Bring out Raleigh's littlest cyclists for Kidical Mass and learn new cycling skills. Feel like tackling the Big Issues? Join advocates for a discussion about legislative issues and agenda during NC Rides to the Capitol. Want to enjoy a bit of cycling culture even if you don't ride a bike (yet)? How about checking out beautiful bicycle art and a slew of creativity from folks who take to two wheels at the Raleigh Bikes Art Show.
10) Enough said. If you aren't convinced by an exciting scavenger hunt that is sure to test your navigational skills at WESACat, a place where you can bring the young'ns like Kidical Mass, or where you can just let your spirit fly free in a bundle of warm old-timey tweed, there just isn't anything I can do for you.