Kuhn, Currier top Ride Garfield standings | PostIndependent.com

Kuhn, Currier top Ride Garfield standings

Heather McGregor
Clean Energy Economy News
Eric Kuhn, left, and John Currier, right, are the top 2 riders so far in the Ride Garfield County bike and bus riding challenge, and Jim Pokrandt, center, is in 7th place. All three work for the Colorado River District in Glenwood Springs.

Eric Kuhn and John Currier, colleagues at the Colorado River District in Glenwood Springs, are friendly rivals for logging the most miles in Ride Garfield County. By each riding more than 2,200 miles since May 1, they are pushing their River District team to a second-place position behind Team Kiwanis.

With 198 local riders logging 40,207 miles as of Aug. 4, the Ride Garfield countywide campaign has moved up to ninth place in the national standings for community bike-riding efforts in the National Bike Challenge.

Ride Garfield County, hosted by Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER, is a five-month countywide campaign to encourage bike and bus riding. It runs through Sept. 30.

At the River District office near Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs, biking to work is a daily habit for Kuhn, Currier and many of their co-workers. Kuhn and Currier also spend extra evening and weekend time in the saddle.

“On my way home from work, I’ll ride out to Bair Ranch in Glenwood Canyon, or up to Carbondale on the Rio Grande Trail,” said Kuhn, 66, the River District’s general manager. “I try to ride 40 miles a day, four to five times a week.”

On the weekends, he rides both days with his wife, Sue, often pedaling to Basalt and back to Glenwood Springs with a stop for breakfast along the way. The couple also takes at least one lengthy bike tour each year. This year’s trip is a five-day loop along the Alberta-British Columbia border.

“You ride in a day the distance most people drive in an hour, so you see, you absorb where you are,” Kuhn said.

Currier, 59, the River District’s chief engineer, loves road biking and mountain biking. “My latest passion is riding a cyclo-cross bike on gravel roads, and mapping out crazy gravel century (100-mile) rides. Sometimes they’re fun, and sometimes they end up being beautiful places where I’ve carried my bike.”

He had already set a goal in January to ride 5,000 miles this year, after hitting his goals of 3,000 miles in 2014 and 4,000 miles in 2015. The friendly competition of Ride Garfield County prompts him to ride to work on the occasional day when he might have otherwise opted to drive.

Currier said he loves biking because it keeps him fit, and he experiences a strong connection between bicycling and brain power.

“If I go out and ride for an hour, my brain function after is definitely better. I like to think up creative water solutions when I’m riding,” Currier said.

His colleague Jim Pokrandt, currently seventh in the local rankings with 1,273 miles since May 1, said when he is road biking, he thinks about work and comes back to his desk with a high level of productivity.

Mountain biking is different, Pokrandt said. “All your problems go away, because you are concentrating, just trying to keep the rubber side down,” he said, describing the challenge of staying upright on a steep, rocky single-track trail.

What advice do these avid cyclists have for people who want to get started in the sport?

“Just do it,” said Pokrandt. Bike riding — along with walking your dog — are two of the best ways to get to know your community, he said.

Kuhn and Currier are both big fans of the Rio Grande Trail, a separated bike trail managed by RFTA that runs 40 miles from Glenwood Springs to Aspen. Currier advises people to drive to a Rio Grande trailhead and ride from there.

“Try that out before you try to ride in traffic,” he said. Once a rider builds confidence, they’ll discover what he has learned: “Riding a bike through town is far, far, far more pleasant than driving.”

It’s not too late to sign up for Ride Garfield County. It’s unlikely you’ll catch up with Kuhn and Currier, but every rider who participates helps to boost Ride Garfield’s standing in the national rankings. To get started, visit GarfieldCleanEnergy.org.


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