GREENFIELD – Calling bicycle enthusiasts and novices alike: the city’s inaugural Bike Bash is this Saturday.

The new event is from 3-6 p.m. May 11 at the Boys and Girls Club of Hancock County, 715 E. Lincoln St., Greenfield.

Julie Patterson, assistant director of Greenfield Parks & Recreation, said biking seems to be becoming more popular in the city, which boasts 15 miles of paved trails in the parks jurisdiction alone.

The event will be themed on bicycle safety, with 125 helmets to give away for free. There will be a bike swap— people can bring their old bike to trade for one their size – as well as hot dogs, shaved ice, bike wash, obstacle course and even a place to decorate your handlebars.

 Greenfield Parks and Recreation had a ribbon cutting for the city’s bike share program in April, 2023. Daily Reporter file photo

The all-ages event will also include information on local programs that are bicycle-related: the Hancock Flat 50 will have a booth there with a special $10 discount code on the upcoming race, and a new group that is organizing community bicycle rides along the Pennsy Trail will be introducing themselves.

The city’s parks department will share information on an upcoming feature at Riley Park: the new pump track will have hills and berms for bicyclists to challenge themselves with new skills.

They’ll also share about the popular bike share program: bicycles people may check out for free at Depot Street Park, Brandywine Park, the Riley Park splash pad and – new this year – Beckenholdt Park. The program allows anyone to borrow a bicycle through scanning a credit card; the card is not charged if the bicycle is returned.

“Since we opened our bike share (program) a year ago, we have noticed there’s a high usage of those bikes,” Patterson said. “So we’re like, ‘Hey, maybe people want to have their own bike.’ We still want people to use the bike share bikes, but it just makes sense.”

Patterson said bicycle safety will be emphasized at the event, though there have been no major concerns for safety in the city. With summer weather approaching, the parks department simply wants to remind local residents of rules and promote safe fun.

Greenfield Police Department Deputy Chief Chuck McMichael said it’s important for parents and caretakers to pay attention to where their children are playing and riding bikes, especially in neighborhoods.

 The Pennsy Trail is a popular spot for bicyclists in Hancock County. A Bike Bash event is coming up this Saturday. Daily Reporter file photo

“Streets are for cars, not kids. This causes a lot of turmoil every year,” McMichael said in an email. “Folks call to complain about cars driving too fast on neighborhood streets because of kids playing in the street. Kids should never be taught that it’s okay to play in the street, even on a cul-de-sac.”

He reminds drivers to always expect children to dart into the street and keep their eyes up and their phones down.

If you wear headphones while riding your bike, keep the volume low enough to hear traffic approaching, he said. Remember to follow all the rules of the road while riding on the street, he added, including stopping at signs and traffic signals. Those riding at night are required to have a head light and tail light; bright-colored clothing is also wise.

“Always wear a helmet,” McMichael added. “Injuries are still possible, but a head injury doesn’t always heal like the rest of the body. You have to protect the brain!”

Helmets will be available at the event while supplies last for children and adults alike—from extra small to extra large, Patterson said.

The event is free; the only thing people might want to bring is an old bike to swap with someone else, but that is not required.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” she said. “We hope to have good weather; come on out and have fun.”