Steamboat Springs People need several factors to motivate them to commute by bicycle, Erin Brosterhous said, and she said she found hers from an unexpected source: downtown construction.
With intersections along Lincoln Avenue blocked off in downtown Steamboat Springs and driving becoming a hassle, Brosterhous has used the agitation as an impetus to continue biking from her West End Village home to her office at Seventh and Oak streets downtown. She's continued the daily ride even though she often has to bike along U.S. Highway 40 to avoid construction on the Yampa River Core Trail and even though the worsening weather has given her a few days of drizzly sleet.
Brosterhous said she commuted all summer for environmental and economic reasons, but the traffic kept her going through October.
"For me, that really pushed me over the edge, so it's part of my everyday lifestyle," she said. She said that since the beginning of the month, when construction hit full swing, she's ridden her bicycle all but two days, often using a chariot-type bike trailer to tow her 10-month-old daughter.
"It makes great sense," she said. "I'm breezing by people."
On Thursday, Brosterhous said her husband was going to drive her daughter into town later and that she would meet the two and take her daughter home from there.
Infant aside, the weather is starting to give her reasons for second thought, Brosterhous said, but she said she plans to ride as long as the construction continues this season.
Kristen Lillie has a shorter commute, from Fairview Avenue, up 13th Street to Lincoln Avenue, where she works at Pilot Office Outfitters at the intersection with 10th Street.
She said she bikes about half of the days, typically more when the construction in front of her office would slow her drive.
"Sometimes it's delays. Sometimes it's more frustration than actual delays," she said. On days when traffic is backed up along 13th Street, she said it could be faster to ride her bike than to drive.
Caleb Franklin has a much longer commute, from his home near Walton Creek and Village Drive at the base of Mount Werner to Copper Ridge Drive, off Routt County Road 129, where he works at Moots. By bicycling, he said he avoids the traffic congestion of the construction, but that's not the main reason he decides to bike.
"It's on my mind, but I would just rather ride my bike anyway," he said.
He often makes a stop downtown to drop off and pick up his 3-year-old son, making the ride 20 to 25 minutes each way.
Franklin said he primarily stays on the Yampa River Core Trail as long as he can before he "runs the gauntlet up the right side of 129," a route he said he'll continue as long as the snow stays away.
In addition to avoiding construction, Franklin and Brosterhous said they get incentives from their employers for alternative commuting.
Brosterhous, who works in public relations for Mountain Hardware, said her office provides $2 per day for people who use carpools, take public transportation, walk or bike to get to work. That money is redeemable through gift cards to businesses such as Safeway and iTunes.
Franklin said Moots provides $1 a day to each employee who uses alternate forms of transportation, and most of the employees donate the money to a charity fund. He said that out of the office of 22 people, at least six ride a bicycle to work each day.
The employees will vote on which charity should receive their money.