Steamboat Springs Biking to work wasn’t exactly new for Lauren Bible. She previously dabbled in the practice when she went an extended period without a car.
But she’s never taken to it like she has this month. Driven by the Commuter Bike Challenge, which spans the whole of June’s Bike to Work Month in Steamboat Springs, she’s joined with three of her co-workers at the Holiday Inn to form a team, and she’s been riding whenever possible.
“I really like it,” she said. “It wakes me up in the morning and I don’t need Starbucks. It helps me get more motivated and gets my blood pumping. I want to get more stuff done.”
Bible’s Holiday Inn team is just one of 41 teams taking part in the annual Commuter Bike Challenge, and local cycling enthusiasts are hoping those riders will be joined by many more during this week’s Bike to Work Week.
The week is highlighted by a breakfast sponsored by Routt County Riders from 7 to 9 a.m. Wednesday on the Routt County Courthouse lawn in downtown Steamboat Springs. The event will be free for all bike commuters and will include grab-and-go breakfast food as well as treats from Honey Stinger.
“Commuting by bicycle saves money, improves your health, reduces traffic congestion, helps the environment and builds community camaraderie,” Routt Country Riders board President Janet Hruby said in a statement. “In a town like Steamboat Springs, with our bounty of bike paths and bike lanes, commuting by bike is a no-brainer. We already have a high number of residents that commute by bike daily. We encourage everyone else to give it a try on June 27.”
That breakfast will require a detour for Bible, but she said free food or not, she’s become a believer in leaving the car at home whenever possible. Her route was short when she was living on the east end of town, near the hotel, but it nearly doubled when she moved to the Old Fish Creek Falls neighborhood. That hasn’t stopped her, however, and she said she’s been riding about four days per week, trying to skip only the day when she’s required to show up before 7 a.m.
“I’m not brave enough when its 30 degrees outside,” she said, laughing. “It’s not always easy. When I’m running late and will be tardy, it’s tough to convince myself that it’s better to just be late and ride the bike than to drive.”
The commute has made for a nice workout, she said, mentioning that she’s been pushing herself harder to cut down on her time.
Although results are incomplete, her team, with Scott Marr, Barbara Robinson and Esther Drebelbis, is at the top of the standings. The other teams have shown varying levels of commitment. Some, like the “Rotary Red” team, have been aggressive on the bike paths. Member Jim McCreight pounds out a 15-mile round trip and has amassed more than 415 miles commuting.
“I’m hoping for 600,” he said. “It’s motivating to me. I like to stay in good shape, plus, my kids are young and they’re seeing this. It’s a good example.”
Others haven’t been as diligent, but organizers just hope that whether they become regulars or only occasional two-wheeler commuters, they recognize the benefits.
The Commuter Challenge wraps up with a party at 4:30 p.m. July 3 at Creekside Cafe & Grill featuring prizes for the winners and prize drawings for everyone.
“I’ll keep doing it through the summer,” Bible said. “It’s nice to have the wind in your face, and you’re saving gas, too.”
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com