In the saddle: Bike to work? I guess I could |

In the saddle: Bike to work? I guess I could

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – I was reminded Sunday of an old joke: Why do birds fly south? Answer: It’s too far to walk.

This popped into my head as I was riding the Rio Grande Trail from Aspen to my home in the midvalley, having hitched a ride with someone driving up to town. I loaded up the bike on her truck, unloaded it on Main Street in Aspen and hit the pavement at 9 a.m. I pulled into my driveway about 90 minutes later.

So why do I take the bus to and from work? Because it’s too far to bike. Or is it?

I’m not a huge fan of the ride up to Aspen, mostly because it’s uphill and feels like it takes forever. And there’s the big climb over McLain Flats near the end of the ride because I can’t bring myself to pedal my skinny-tire road bike on the gravel section of the Rio Grande that remains upvalley from Woody Creek.

The downvalley commute, I discovered Sunday, is a breeze by comparison. The climb up McLain Flats from that direction seemed easier, and even with the stiff headwind that developed, it remained a pleasant roll through scenery one never glimpses from Highway 82. I briefly entertained thoughts of riding all the way down to Glenwood Springs, just to say I’d ridden the length of the valley once in my life, and catching a bus for a ride back to the midvalley. But bike butt got the better of me, and I was ready to turn toward home when I reached Hooks Spur Bridge.

Still, the experience got me thinking about setting aside an evening a week to ride home from work. I’ll have to get someone to take the backpack loaded with my office laptop computer (the albatross to which I feel eternally chained) home for me, but that should be manageable.

Heck, I might even get a wild hair and get an early start for a ride up the valley while it’s relatively cool if I can arrange transport of the laptop and a change of clothes. I get up before the crack of dawn for spin class three days a week; I guess I could take an actual bike ride instead.

Maybe I’ll do it on June 27, which is Bike to Work Day in Colorado. There’ll be a celebration in Paepcke Park in Aspen from 7 to 10 a.m. with food, drawings and other enticements. Hopefully, I can make it before the party’s over.

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