Each month, Estes Park Town Administrator Frank Lancaster discusses projects and issues affecting the Estes Park community in columns published in local newspapers. This month, it’s about cycling & Bike to Work
June 21 through June 28 is Bike to Work, Bike to Play Week in Estes Park. This is the second year in a row that we have held Bike to Work Day in Estes. Last year was a great success and there’s a lot of excitement around this year’s festivities.
I ride my bike to work most days in the summer, and fairly often the rest of the year as well. I’m not a hardcore bicyclist. I’d probably kill myself if I tried to ride up Trail Ridge Road, or down to the valley and back. I don’t go for marathon bike trips every weekend, although I have a lot of respect for those cyclists who do. I’m just an average bicycle commuter. So why consider biking to work? Everyone has their own reasons, but I can share with you why I ride my bike to work.
I live up hill from Town Hall. In fact, you can just about count the number of times I have to pedal coming to work on your fingers. It is such a nice relaxing ride into town and the views seem a little more spectacular coasting down on a bike. It puts me in a relaxed mood for starting the day. Of course going home is a different situation. When we moved to town we worked with a great realtor who tried hard but never really found my perfect home. I wanted a location that I could bike downhill to work and downhill going home too. Well, he met half of my request. But that leads to another reason for riding to work…
It makes me exercise at least twice a day. My ride home is a challenge and it is work, but if I’m too tired, there is nothing wrong with walking your bike up a hill. It’s still exercise and you’re out in the fresh air. I ride a lot less in the winter, and the hills seem a little steeper and higher in the spring, but by fall I can feel the difference and it is truly an easy way to get a little bit of exercise.
On a bike it’s easier to get around town in the summer. I spend a lot of time going to meetings all over town and in the summer when there is traffic, it’s actually easier to bike than to drive. Parking becomes a non-issue, and for the most part, it’s easy for me to get to meetings anywhere in town in just a few minutes. When I do have to leave Town Hall in the middle of the day I don’t have to worry that I won’t find a place to park when I get back to the office. If everyone working downtown would bike, even one day a week, it could make a big difference in in the amount of public parking available.
Biking is cheap. I save a considerable amount of money on gas and car maintenance by riding a bike. Bicycles are amazingly efficient in the amount of energy expended for the distance travelled.
Biking is good for the environment. I don’t generate carbon monoxide or particulates when I ride. I’m not using up fossil fuels or generating used anti-freeze, oils or other waste products. It also reduces noise. I feel good about that.
I was in a meeting at the Stanley Hotel the other day when a car alarm started. Everyone in the room was trying to slyly look out the window, hoping it wasn’t their car causing the commotion — everyone but me. I knew it wasn’t my car. My car was at home parked in the garage.
Now I don’t ride my bike every day. I drive to the grocery store. If I have meetings out of town, I drive. If it’s too cold, or rainy or windy, I drive. It doesn’t need to be an all or nothing proposition. Try it just a few times, or a lot.
And for those of you who don’t like bicyclists: Yes, I do pay taxes. Like most cyclists, I own a car, I pay road taxes, and I buy gas. However, I do have less impact on the roads and my cycling travel isn’t as heavily tax subsidized as when I’m driving. I do stop at stop signs and red lights. I do use turn lanes, I signal my turns, and I don’t block traffic. Yes, there are some cyclists out there who don’t do these things and give cycling a bad name. No one is more frustrated with them than conscientious cyclists. On the other hand, have you seen how some people drive? Maybe they should be on a 30-pound bicycle rather than careening around town in a 2,000 pound speeding vehicle. There are bad drivers, bad cyclists and bad pedestrians, so please don’t paint everyone with the same brush.
If you haven’t tried riding your bike to work or to play, take advantage of Bike to Work week and give it a try. You might discover it’s your favorite thing to do. A few events that are already scheduled:
Rocky Mountain National Park Guided Bicycle Rides in May and June:
• Moraine Park Bicycle Ride: June 24, 8 a.m. – 9 a.m.; for novice adults; limit 20 riders.
• Bear Lake Road Corridor Ride: June 22: 8 a.m. – 9 a.m.; for novice/intermediate adults; limit 20.
• Kid’s Fun Bicycle Ride: June 21, 8 a.m. – 9 a.m.; for novice/intermediate youth; limit 20 riders.
• More information on RMNP rides at: NPS.gov/ROMO
Kids, Kids, Kids- Bike, Run, Fun! • June 21, 10:30 – 3 p.m. in Bond Park, downtown Estes Park. An educational festival including games, racing, painting, dancing, and celebrations of nature. Learn more: epmarathon.org/race-information/kids-fun-run/
Bike to Work Day • June 25, 6 a.m. – 9 a.m. at the Estes Park Visitor Center, 500 Big Thompson Ave. Cyclists receive a free breakfast, coffee, giveaways, activities, bike check-ups, live entertainment and a chance to win prizes.
Bike in Movie featuring Breaking Away (PG) • Friday, June 27, 8:30 p.m. at Performance Park, 417 West Elkhorn Ave. Sponsored by the Town of Estes Park; free admittance; concessions and on-site activities begin at 6:30 p.m. Call the Town of Estes Park Events Office at 970-586-6104 for more information. Two Wheelin’ History Tour • Wednesday, July 2 from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at the Estes Park Museum, 200 Fourth Street. There is an $8 fee payable by cash or check the day of the tour. For more information, call 970-577-3762.Tags: bike to play week bike to work day frank lancaster