Hop in the saddle on Bike to Work Day

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— Gas prices are through the roof, providing extra incentive for people to try out Bicycle Colorado's alternative to driving: bike to work.

Wednesday is Colorado Bike to Work Day and organizers hope that folks in towns all over Colorado will abandon their cars and pedal to work.

"This is a day for people who don't normally do it to try it," Bicycle Colorado Executive Director Martha Roskowski said. "If you haven't done it before, try it today."

Roskowski said she is not sure what the effect of soaring gas prices as high as $1.90 a gallon in Steamboat Springs will have on this day. She said bicycling advocates have said higher gas prices are a positive thing for them and the current oil crunch is reaching the point where people are starting to look at their checkbooks and lament how much they are spending on gas.

"I'm hoping that we will see a change in people's habits and patterns," she said, adding that it takes some time to shift this kind of behavior.

Locally, Steamboat Springs community service officers will be registering bicycles and handing out bicycle safety manuals from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

Community service supervisor Tom Whiddon said a stolen bike that is registered is much easier to recover.

Whiddon said there are ways to make biking to work easy locally. He suggested that people who live far out should drive in, park for free at the city transportation center and bike to work from there.

"You can utilize the bike path. It's a great way to ride along the river and enjoy the roses along the banks," he said.

Whiddon said he realized that people have constraints if they have to run errands or pick up children from activities, but he said biking offers people the chance to set aside time for themselves.

He said City Hall is offering employees prize incentives for riding to work.

"I think that's successful," city planner Tracy Hughes said. "I think incentives are the way to go."

Hughes is also an organizer of the Community Use Bicycle program, through which seven bright yellow bikes are available for people to ride around town and leave for the next person.

Roskowski said many businesses are interested in bike-to-work programs because the programs can also benefit them.

"It helps them address parking problems and contributes to a healthy work force," she said.

Roskowski said another benefit of people biking to work, even if it is for one day, is that they are more aware of cyclists on the road.

"It raises drivers' awareness of what it's like to be on a bicycle," she said.


To reach Jennifer Bartlett call 871-4204 or e-mail jbartlett@amigo.net

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