Every day should be ‘bike to work day’
July 17, 2006
Dear Editor:It was great to see the article encouraging people to bike to work (“City promotes biking to work,” July 15). Bicycles are the hundred-year-old solution to our traffic, pollution, parking and health/obesity problems. It’s the most efficient form of locomotion known to man. The average person can walk 2 1/2 miles in one hour – this equals access to an area of approximately 20 square miles. By bicycle, that same area would be equivalent to 310 square miles! Of course there is the obvious financial benefits of cycling, especially with the price at the pump escalating daily.And to employers: Consider giving incentives to your employees for riding to work. After all, they will each have vacated one precious parking place for your customers, will be in a better state of mind from the fresh air and lack of commuter road rage, and will have a good chance of being on time, having spent no time circling for parking.Aspen has done much to enable us all to ride our bikes to work. The bike paths are great (hopefully the Rio Grande Trail will be reopened for good soon). Also, the pedestrian/bikeways in the West End keep the cars at bay a bit, which is good for the neighborhoods as well as the bike riders. But it’s time for us as a town – as a culture really – to embrace the bike whole-heartedly. Rarely do you really feel loved as a bike rider. The “no biking” on the mall thing is just wrong. If speeding is the problem, police speeding. Just make the message 100 percent bike acceptance. One needs only to travel outside this country to see the way the bike-friendly plazas get people out of their cars. We simply can’t afford even the subliminal message in “no bikes.” Aspen could also do far better at providing bike racks around town. Ask anyone with a bike of any quality and they will tell you that the few racks there are terrible. How about commissioning some local metal artists to make racks that both look good AND function without damaging a person’s bike?Lastly, “bike to work day” should be every day. The single-occupancy vehicle is ruining our scenery, our air and our lifestyle, and should be frowned upon for that. Remember, every time someone chooses his or her bike over a car, they give a gift to the community by alleviating traffic, pollution and parking in town. Maybe it’s time to thank them and join them.Molly BrookeAspenP.S. Two notable organizations work at a worldwide level using bikes to solve problems: Wheels 4 Life and World Bicycle Relief. Check them out.