Lots of things are changing or being necessarily modified during the COVID 19 pandemic, including the normally simple process of riding a bicycle.

May is Bike Month, and Missoula in Motion Program Manager Margaret Hoyt explains the complications of bike riding while practicing social distancing.

“Bike Month is usually celebrated with gatherings and group rides and enjoying the outdoors and enjoying the aspects of biking, but this year is a little different,” said Hoyt. “Everyone’s modifying their programs and we’re doing just the same, so we are highlighting the importance of solo riding and hoping that everyone celebrates riding, but just in a different way.”

Hoyt said biking does provide some measure of extra protection for people who ride together.

“Biking is great because it just naturally gives you some distance between you and another individual, but we are promoting solo biking and solo riding,” she said. “We’re trying not to get too close to people. Obviously, we encourage staying away from really crowded trails because our trail systems have been really busy, especially with these past few really warm days.”

For those wary of crowded trails, Hoyt invites riders to discover what are called ‘greenways’.

Missoula in Motion dot com slash greenways would probably be the best website to start,” she said. “It has all the information on what these really low traffic streets are and where they’re located. We have a bunch if loops that you can do around Missoula, anywhere from one mile to three miles.”

Activities include virtual Cycle Craft nights, safety webinars, a bike-themed haiku contest, follow-along bike checks with Free Cycles, scavenger hunts and chalk contests with the Zootown Arts Community Center, historical rides and more. Plus, participants are automatically entered to win weekly raffle prizes when they use #bikemonthmissoula on their social media. Prizes include gift cards to local businesses, cookie sets from Bernice’s Bakery, bike tune-ups from the Bicycle Hanger and map-of-Missoula water bottles from Frame of Mind.

A complete list of Missoula’s Bike Month activities can be found here.