ASPEN " Basil Smilios is doing his bit for the environment right where the rubber meets the road.
He is the sole owner and operator of Aspen Handyman, LLC, and does repairs and projects in Aspen's downtown core.
With skyrocketing fuel costs and the hassle of finding a parking spot, however, Smilios decided to leave the car at home. Instead, he totes his tools in a trailer behind his mountain bike (see him hit the road in the Web Extras video at right).
"I used so much fuel and time, I had to make a change and this was the change I made," Smilios said, patting his trusty rig. "I can pull right up to the job where normally I might have to park a block away."
A native of Livingston, N.J., Smilios has been in Aspen for 28 years. He lives in a condo in the East End with his wife, Penny.
After years spent reconditioning cars, Smilios began his handyman business in 2002, and began using the bicycle the following year.
On Monday, Smilios was busy fixing a broken rain gutter in front of Little Annie's Eating House on Hyman Avenue " one of the many jobs he contracts with A1 Maintenance, a large property management company.
"Of course, I use much less fuel. ... It's definitely green," Smilios said. "It's the way to go."
Instead of burning gas and circling Aspen's downtown core in search of parking, Smilios can leave his bike wherever he pleases with no fear of a parking ticket. And his trailer full of tools stays right at his fingertips.
If everyone made the same kind of changes he has, then it would send a message to oil producers like Hugo Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: "To take their oil and shove it," Smilios said with a smile.
He rides without studded tires, but gets by OK, he said.
And the bicycle trailer he rescued from the garbage can carry a lot of gear " even lengths of two-by-four.
"I do need to drive sometimes because I have to get lumber and such that I couldn't carry on my bike," Smilios said. But mostly he'll drop off what he needs and return to the job on two wheels.
Smilios won't accept any work beyond the Maroon Creek roundabout.
"As you know, gas in this town is almost four bucks," Smilios said, which means as much as $80 for filling his tank.
Riding a bicycle helps him do his part for the environment, and saves him a lot of money, he said.
"I wouldn't say I'm 1,000 percent green but I try to do my best and save on the fuel."