Vail local scoffs at parking fees

Unwilling to pay $200 a month, man rigs bike with a ski rack

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— Forget paying $200 a month for parking in Vail; Peter Theune plans to pedal to the slopes this year.

Fed up with shelling out money to park his Subaru Baja in the parking garage, the Vail resident has rigged his bike with a ski rack.

“There are certain expenses you have to absorb,” Theune said, noting that he pays $60 a month each for two parking spaces at his Middle Creek home off Vail’s North Frontage Road West. “One I didn’t want to absorb is the parking structure.”

Theune said outfitting his bike with a ski rack is his humorous solution to what he sees as a growing problem in Vail.

“Over five years of living here, parking is getting more expensive every year and more limited,” the 44-year-old massage therapist said.

About four times a week, Theune plans to cycle the less than two miles from his home to the Lionshead gondola.

Theune has pimped his ride with recycled materials. Two crutches make up a ski rack by the rear wheels. Old carpeting covers a platform by the steering wheel, where Theune straps his ski boots.

With plans to add studded tires, Theune isn’t worried about riding in ice and snow. Most of his route covers plowed roads or heated paths, he said.

The bike wasn’t always a ski-toting machine. When Theune bought it for $25 at an Eagle-Vail garage sale, the Stump-Jumper mountain bike suffered from flat tires and a coating of dust. Theune fixed up the bike, adding flame-colored paint and a bell.

Theune, who used to hitch a wheelbarrow to the back of his bike so he could pedal his massage tables from appointment to appointment, said he gets some funny looks as he bikes his skis around town.

But he’s hoping other people come to appreciate his quirky answer to the parking problem and perhaps get creative themselves.

“More people should stretch,” he said. “Instead of whining about something, do something about it.”

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