Learn from ‘velo nudies’ | AspenTimes.com

Learn from ‘velo nudies’

Dear Editor:”Naked Cyclists protest dependence on cars” was the title of a very interesting article I recently read in one of the local newspapers pertaining to the West’s (read America’s) dependence on gas-guzzling cars and a push for more use of bicycles.With Aspen’s current traffic congestion, I think we could learn a few lessons from those hundreds of daring souls, who took the time and initiative to “skinny bike” around London on a circuit past Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, and the U.S. Embassy. Similar rides in the buff are being organized by World Naked Bike Ride 2005 in other countries around the world. “It’s a protest against oil dependency and car culture and the overuse of cars for unnecessary reasons,” said one of the organizers from north London (as he covered his privates with a helmet I suppose). Although certainly liberating and definitely entertaining, I’m not suggesting we should do the morning commute in our birthday suits. But, these “velo nudies” do raise a good point. We don’t need to use our cars as much as we do. For one, we could be more efficient and combine errands more often. Here’s another concept to ponder. What if everyone took just one work day per week to use an alternative to the single occupancy vehicle (SOV)? Riding the bus and carpooling also come to mind as viable alternatives. If most folks found an alternative to the SOV one day per week, we could reduce our traffic by as much as 20 percent, bringing it back down to nearly off-season levels.In terms of real numbers, about 23,000 vehicles entered Aspen during June and over 32,000 vehicles per day on busier July days (Aspen Daily News, August 4). A 20-percent reduction would eliminate 4,600-6,400 vehicles per day, which is a significant reduction in the level of pollution and stress. Think about it. We could actually come and go as we wish without total gridlock when we hit 1st and Main streets. More important, we would be taking individual ownership for this problem instead of looking to local government for the answer. And we’d be helping preserve the reason why we all moved here: our incredible mountain environment. Have you ever considered how your driving habits affect our air and water? Can you imagine the health and financial benefits of riding your bike one more day per week? Granted many of us need our “land yachts” for work, kids, errands, etc. most days of the week. But, come on guys. Can’t you give up your SOV SUV one day a week for the cause? Well, I can and I will. If you really care about Aspen and the valley, you’ll make some kind of effort too, even if it’s biking naked!Erik SkarvanAspen