WHEATON – For the fourth year, a bicycle festival will promote the fact that Wheaton is a bike-friendly community.
Bike Wheaton Fest, put on by the Downtown Wheaton Association and Wheaton Bicycle Advisory Committee, will take place from 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 11 at Memorial Park, 208 W. Union Ave. in downtown Wheaton. The free event will include a bicycle parade and other bicycle-related activities.
"We wanted something that would promote the fact that you can bike into downtown Wheaton and park your bike and visit our shops and restaurants," Downtown Wheaton Association Executive Director Paula Barrington said. "We're right along the Prairie Path, and that's a popular cycling and walking trail as well. And then of course, fortunately, Wheaton has the Wheaton Bicycle Advisory Committee. We thought it was an opportunity to partner with the commission members and really promote bicycling as a healthy lifestyle activity in our community."
Part of the committee's mission is to educate and share its enthusiasm for biking in the Wheaton community.
In 2017, more than 200 people attended Bike Wheaton Fest. A bike parade will kick off the event at 10 a.m. Participants will need to wear bike helmets.
"It's at a very leisurely pace, so all cyclists of all ages can participate," Barrington said. "We have a lot of adults who cycle with their children, and we have adults that just love to cycle that are active cyclists in the community. The range of people participating is really quite broad."
A bike-decorating contest will be at 10:30 a.m.
"We encourage people to be very creative with decorating their bikes," Barrington said. "We also include a category for families that do their bike decorating with a single theme or a group of cyclists that have a single theme."
Barrington has seen her fair share of people letting their creativity go wild.
"Last year, one of our top winners was a family that did dinosaurs as their bicycle theme," she said. "And then one year, we had a family that did these long-necked puppet characters that were mounted on their bikes. I think it was the Angry Birds that they were trying to replicate. So there's a lot of creativity out there."
The festival also will feature park exhibitions promoting the cycling lifestyle, and local bike shops will provide tune-ups. In addition, the Wheaton Police Department will be teaching safety skills as part of a bike rodeo.
A group called Working Bikes also will be accepting bike donations at the festival.
"They in turn will donate those bicycles to underdeveloped countries, where a bicycle can mean a lot in the way of providing transportation, starting a new business, that type of thing," Barrington said.
A group ride will follow the festival. The event is rain or shine, she said.
If you go
WHAT: Bike Wheaton Fest
WHEN: 10 a.m. to noon Aug. 11
WHERE: Memorial Park, 208 W. Union Ave., Wheaton