Letter (Aug. 26): Vicious cycle?
August 26, 2013
Top-speed riders of that non-polluting vehicle, the bicycle, are so awesome that people will drive miles to watch them compete. The riders themselves arrive with fleets of equally gas-guzzling support vehicles. As Jillian Shaw wrote in her letter, the recent town-choking race was "a total horror scene."
It has gone unnoticed that access to the airport was closed on the day after the Aspen Music Festival, when hundreds of musicians had to fly home, many of them to jobs where they were due immediately for teaching or playing. After enduring an ill-timed invasion of the festival's last concert by the rock group Taj Mahal, sponsored by AREDAY, a group that should have known better, they had to face making it to the airport the following day — or not.
My own closest friend with the festival, a two-decade veteran, had to cancel his 3 p.m. flight to Norway because, with my help, he had to store his Colorado car in Marble, and reaching the airport by noon was impossible. Changing his flights cost him a hefty fee and he had to miss his first concert with the Bergen Philharmonic.
Monday evening we decided to walk rather than drive into town for dinner, and I led us to Hopkins, the pedestrian street, where we were nearly run over by a bus. It was the first of many, for all buses were diverted to the pedestrian route so as not to interfere with cyclists practicing on Main during non-race time. Ignoring the rest, the event treated racers on bikes like Caesars on the Appian Way.
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Do locals who ride bikes instead of contaminating cars, plus users of Aspen's commendable new bike-sharing program, make up for the carbon footprint of a bike race? There is no way to calculate the answer, but the question itself makes a statement.