Dan Dean chats with Lori Biagi while biking to work in June 2008. The pair was joined by Lori's husband, Evan Biagi, from left, Larry Mashaw and Jason Edinburg. This week is Bike to Work Week.

Photo by John F. Russell

Dan Dean chats with Lori Biagi while biking to work in June 2008. The pair was joined by Lori's husband, Evan Biagi, from left, Larry Mashaw and Jason Edinburg. This week is Bike to Work Week.

Bike to Work Week kicks off Monday

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Bike to Work Week

- Monday

5:30-6:30 p.m. Commuting 101 and Bike Maintenance Social. Courtyard of Kent Eriksen Cycles and Orange Peel Bicycle Service at 11th and Yampa streets.

- Tuesday

5:30 p.m. Group Road Ride: Meet at Orange Peel, all levels welcome.

- Wednesday

Bike to Work Day.

7 to 10 a.m. Free commuter breakfast on the Routt County Courthouse Lawn.

5:30 p.m. Town Challenge Race: Thunderhead Hill Climb. Post-race party to follow at The Tap House Sports Grill.

- Thursday

6 p.m. Skills Clinic. Meet by the stables at Howelsen Hill. Learn how to master wheelies, logs, cornering and descending.

- Friday

6 p.m. Poker Ride prize party and skidding competition. Collect a hand of cards throughout the day at Orange Peel, Steamboat Ski and Bike Kare, Howelsen Place Discovery Center and Sunpie's Bistro. A $1 donation to Routt County Riders is requested. The best hand of cards will win a prize.

- Saturday

11 a.m. Bike Day. Meet at Wheels Bike Shop, and join other local cyclists on a family-friendly ride to the Yampa River Botanic Park for a barbecue and music that starts at 1 p.m.

— The Routt County Riders are trying to break the habit this week. Your habit, specifically, of getting into the car each morning and driving to work.

The annual Bike to Work Week kicks off Monday with events scheduled each day of the week including lessons, group rides and a new "poker ride" with prizes.

"What's great about it is, it kicks the routine of getting in the car and driving to work every day," said Routt County Riders President Robin Craigen. "It's a habit to get in the car. It's the great American habit. We love our cars. And our goal is to put the idea in people's head that biking is another option."

That doesn't mean that riders have to start riding to work every day, but a gradual transition may help them realize the benefits of the ride, he said.

They may feel that "it was really different riding to work, and they felt good when they got there, and they felt a new level of energy," Craigen said.

Bike shops and business across town are sponsoring portions of the event, including the new Poker Ride this year. During the day Friday, riders can visit each of the five participating businesses - Ski Haus, Orange Peel Bicycle Service, Steamboat Ski and Bike Kare, Howelsen Place Discovery Center and Sunpie's Bistro - to gather a playing card from each location. At 6 p.m., Ski Haus will host a barbecue and skidding competition. The rider with the best poker hand will win a prize, said Todd Givnish, of Ski Haus. Givnish said organizers chose to swap out a traditional cruiser rally in favor of the open-ended poker ride "to switch it up and go for the poker ride to give people more flexibility and a way to wind up Bike to Work Week."

Impediments

Craigen said it's clear that Steamboat Springs is a "bike-obsessed town," but there are challenges to getting commuters to use their bicycles every day - mostly the weather.

Essam Welch, of Orange Peel, said he sees an increasing number of riders coming in to get their bikes ready for the daily grind.

"It's weatherproofing them with fenders, accessorizing with lights and racks and perhaps bags or baskets to carry belongings," he said.

Welch said he sees the increase in number of riders on the Yampa River Core Trail. He said he used to be able to recognize each rider on the trail, but now "it's gotten to the point there are multiple riders every which way."

"The core path is definitely the most traffic-free pathway, (but) people will use everything from the tiny single-track connector trails : to mountain trails to busy roads or highways," he said.

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