Thanks to guest blogger Mirtha Sosa Pacheco for this post about the third annual Milwaukee Southside Bicycle Day, which is timely given our upcoming Polish Moon Bike Ride. If you missed this great event, you don’t have to wait until next summer to taste the flavor of southside cycling, just join us on our Polish Moon Bike Ride and remember to look for another great Southside Bicycle Day next summer.
The Milwaukee Southside Bicycle Day came back bigger and better this year on June 21st , 2014 for the third annual event, at which more than 700 participants took part in the day’s activities at Kosciuszko Park on Lincoln Avenue. A few clouds and sporadic rain drops didn’t dampen the electric atmosphere as families and individuals from the community once again learned about bike safety, snacked on fruits and veggies, took bike rides in the park and joined in physical activities such as Zumba and Nia.
An awesome line of bike repair tents was set up by a number of local bike shops including Ben’s Cycle, Coast In Bikes, Dream Bikes, South Shore Cyclery and Wheel and Sprocket– who were present from early morning set up and bike transport until clean up, and provided free bike check-ups and repairs for the duration of the event.
Children received free helmets along with helmet education and fittings, and had the opportunity to win a free bike, which were being raffled off throughout the event to those participating in the scheduled activities. Bikes, helmets, bike locks, waters bottles and event t-shirts were also raffled off to the kids and adults who joined in on the physical activities and the more than 20 biking education tables, which included information from the Hank Aaron State Trail, Kinnickinnic River Trail, Midwest Bike Share, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Police Department, the Urban Ecology Center and the Wisconsin Bike Federation.
The event was again organized by the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center’s Healthy Choices Program, along with the community group “Latinos por la Salud”, that both work dynamically to expand healthy living education, awareness and access in Milwaukee’s near south side neighborhoods.
The day concluded with the air thick with enthusiasm for biking and healthy fun (community led!) that afternoon at Kosciuszko. Needless to say, the success of this year’s event was measured by the kids’ expressions- flying high from their new bikes and riding off into the neighborhood!
***Special thanks to the sponsors: Ben’s Cycle; Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin; Chipotle; Coast In Bikes; CORE/El Centro, Dream Bikes; El Rey, Hank Aaron State Trail, Habush, Habush and Rottier, Integra, Midwest Bike Share, Milwaukee County Parks, Milwaukee Police Department; Pete’s Fruit Market, South Shore Cyclery, Rebel Wipes, Urban Ecology Center, Walgreens, Wheel and Sprocket, and the Wisconsin Bike Fed***
Mirtha Sosa Pacheco is a 22 yr. old Latina Milwaukeean and member of the Milwaukee Southside Bicycle Day planning “Dream Team” who helped recruit and coordinate bilingual volunteers among other amazing contributions. She is a first generation college graduate from Marquette University, where she double majored in Spanish Literature and Culture and Social Welfare and Justice. Her professional and academic interests include public/global health and epidemiology, which feed her personal passions for community empowerment and socioeconomic, racial and health justice and equity. Since graduating she has decided to focus on volunteering and working in the Milwaukee community, before pursuing her graduate studies in social medicine and public health in the near future. In her spare time she can be found running, biking, dancing, practicing yoga and making frequent trips to Leon’s for custard. If interested in upcoming Milwaukee Southside Bicycle Day events, please contact Manager of Healthy Choices Department at Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, at Tatiana.Maida@sschc.org,