Kalamazoo's week-long celebration of all things cycling begins Saturday. Kalamazoo Bike Week 2016 is May 14-21st.

ThinkStock; Yan Lev

Kalamazoo Bike Week began in 2012 as a way to bring promote cycling as a means of transportation and showcase the benefits cycling. Here are some highlights of this coming week.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The week-long program kicks off on Saturday, (May 14) with four opportunities to ride.  Staring early in the day with the Trailblazer Ride, a fundraiser for the Kal-Haven Trail, beginning at 8:00 a.m. at the trailhead on 10th St. in Oshtemo. Riders can choose the length of their ride, which heads west from Kalamazoo to South Haven.

For those riders wanting a shorter ride, the Mayors’ City to City ride will take off from Celery Flats in Portage at 8:30 a.m., providing riders with a chance to experience short portions of local trail ways while riding eight miles with Portage Mayor Peter Strazdas, as well as other Kalamazoo and Portage elected officials.

An even shorter ride option is the family-friendly Slow Roll to the Farmer’s Market, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Vine Neighborhood Association.  Riders will cruise the neighborhood before exploring the Farmer’s Market and then returning to VNA to check out the Vine Neighborhood businesses.

If you're a cyclist looking for a mental as well as physical challenge, you can join the Pedal Your Bell’s Off Scavenger Hunt, with registration starting at noon at Bell’s Eccentric Café, and the timed scavenger hunt from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00.  This cycling challenge raises funds for the Markin Glen Trail Expansion.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

For those needing some time off the bike, and possibly a local brew, the Kalamazoo Bicycle Film Festival will feature “Bike Shorts,” bicycle short films at Bell’s Eccentric Café on Tuesday, May 17, with showings at 6:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Kalamazoo Area Transportation Study and Bike Friendly Kalamazoo welcome the public to hear local and state planning officials outline place-building efforts, upcoming cycling infrastructure improvements and their tie-ins to major trends and community plans at a forum on Wednesday, May 18 at 4:00pm at KRESA’s Main Campus.

Several group rides of varying skills and lengths are offered during the weeknights of KBW 2016, including one special ride, The Ride of Silence, to honor those cyclists who have been killed or injured while riding.  This eight mile, silent ride will begin Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Millennium Park in Portage.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday, May 20 is National Ride Your Bike to Work Day.  Workers throughout the country are encouraged to ride their bikes to their places of employment.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Capping off KBW 2016, Saturday, May 21 provides an opportunity for a ride, brewery tour, and a party.  Always a favorite, the fourth annual Bell’s to Bell’s Ride will begin with registration at noon at Bell’s Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo, with the ride leaving at 1:00 p.m. and traveling along the newest portion of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail to the production facility in Comstock for a tour. Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail.

The final event of KBW 2016 will be “Bike-a-Palooza,” a fundraiser for the Open Roads program, which teaches youths social skills and bike mechanics.  The festivities will be at 6:00 p.m. at Ignertia/Life Story on North Street.  This finale celebration features music by Western Michigan University School of Music, a silent auction and a bike raffle.

More information on these events and a complete list of Kalamazoo Bike Week 2016 events can be found at the Kalamazoo Bike Week website.