COLUMBIA — Winning a free bicycle, getting temporary tattoos and learning how to play bike polo are some of the many incentives that set this year's annual Bike, Walk and Wheel Week apart from years past.
GetAbout Columbia hosts the seven-day program, which kicks off 1 p.m. Saturday at Flat Branch Park, and culminates May 9 with various events throughout the week.
Your Bike Is Your Ticket: All week; bicyclists ride the city buses for free when rack space is available.
Bike, Walk & Wheel Week Kick-Off Celebration: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Flat Branch Park
- Commuter Bicycle Expo: Veteran commuters will display bikes outfitted with gear, from low-tech recycled items to the latest high-tech extras.
- Bicycle Tire and Tube Recycling: Bring old bike tires and tubes to be recycled into useful products, such as bicycle leg bands which will be made and given away at the event.
- A bouncy house, temporary tattoos and balloon art will be featured for children.
- The CoMo Bike Polo Team will be playing 3-on-3 exhibition matches and teach others how to play polo on a bicycle.
- The Columbia Police Department will provide safety tips, along with front and rear bicycle light sets while supplies last.
Cycle Recycle: Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m., GetAbout Office, 101 N. Seventh St.; register at 12:30 p.m. for the chance to win a free refurbished bicycle while supplies last.
Brown Bag Lunch Seminar: Commuting by Bike: noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, YouZeum, 608 Cherry St.; experienced bicycle commuters will share tips on buying bikes, what to wear, bike maintenance and route planning.
Try Transit Thursday: all day Thursday, Columbia Transit buses; everyone can ride Columbia City buses for free all day.
Walking For Fun: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Walt's Bicycle Fitness & Wilderness Co. 1217 Rogers St.; author Steve Henry shares his knowledge of where to go and what you need to be comfortable and have a great time when you are out on a trail.
Breakfast Station Day: 7 to 9 a.m. Friday, all around Columbia; for a free breakfast, come to any of the 12 locations listed on PedNet's Web site.
Bike Ride with Mom: 10 a.m. May 9, Flat Branch Park Playground; a seven-mile ride to Twin Lakes Park and back in honor of Mother's Day.
Register by calling Janet Godon at GetAbout Columbia at 442-7189, ext. 29. All registered moms will receive a special gift.
The event originated in 2001 when Mayor Darwin Hindman challenged citizens to bike, walk or "wheel" to their destinations instead of using vehicles. Since then, the event has grown from 750 to 4,500 participants last year, according to GetAbout Columbia's Web site.
To have the chance to win a free refurbished bicycle Sunday, participants must register by 12:30 p.m. at GetAbout's office at 101 N. Seventh St. Giveaways will begin at 1 p.m. at the offices and last until supplies run out.
Janet Godon, the Bike, Walk and Wheel Week coordinator for GetAbout Columbia, has been a part of the project for the last three years.
"We are really trying to reach new people who have never tried riding their bike or walking for transportation," Godon said. "We're hoping to have people understand riding a bike or walking is viable for short distances."
People can register for the program online or at any of the locations of sponsored events from May 2 through May 9.
This year, the event will feature more educational programs, which will emphasize bicycle safety and operation, the advantages commuting by foot or bicycle and a forum on health and fitness.
"They will become healthier, save money from gas and they'll find it's a fun thing to do and do it more often," Godon said.
So far, 1,800 people have registered, and GetAbout wants to have at least 5,000 participants. According to Godon, most participants register at the events.
Support for the program comes from GetAbout's budget as well as substantial in-kind donations from local businesses and organizations, Godon said.