106 riders, 13 teams pedal 4,418 miles
Clean Energy Economy News
Holy Cross Riders, a team of 10 bicycle riders employed by Holy Cross Energy, edged out the Colorado Mountain College team to win Garfield Clean Energy’s Ride Garfield County Team Challenge, according to event organizer Karen Wahrmund.
The top three individual riders were Darin Binion, Sue Schnitzer and Preston Seymour, who each logged more than 200 miles during the Team Challenge competition week, June 19-26.
The Team Challenge drew 108 riders, and most joined one of the 13 teams. During the Team Challenge week, riders logged 4,418 miles.
They kept track of their mileage on the National Bike Challenge website, which hosted a local challenge page for Ride Garfield County. For the entire month of June, riders registered with the online Team Challenge logged 15,228 miles.
Ride Garfield County also drew cyclists of all ages to community events from Parachute to Carbondale.
The Team Challenge and community events put a spotlight on the health, environmental and economic benefits of walking, cycling and riding the bus. It also highlighted local trails that make it easier and safer to walk, bike and connect to RFTA bus stops.
“We are working to fully integrate multimodal options countywide because it’s a lot healthier and cheaper to walk or bike than to build more parking at RFTA bus stops,” said Jason White, RFTA board member for Garfield Clean Energy.
In Parachute, cyclists met at the Grand Valley Recreation Center on June 20 for a group ride on the Library Trail to the Parachute Library for an ice cream social. In Rifle, mountain bike riders turned out on June 23 for a guided sneak preview of new single-track trails being built north of Fravert Reservoir.
June 24 featured Bike to Work Day events in Rifle, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, coinciding with National Bike to Work Day, plus a Family Bike Scavenger Hunt in New Castle.
Bike to Work Day drew more than 100 riders to the Glenwood Springs Library Plaza for free coffee, doughnuts and breakfast burritos. The Library and the Glenwood Springs Transportation Department co-hosted the event, and City Council approved a proclamation making June 24 Bike to Work Day.
“From 7 till 8:30 a.m., it was quite the social scene with riders and walkers of all ages, from little kids on bikes and tag-alongs to retirees biking or walking in,” said Geoff Guthrie, Glenwood Springs transportation manager. He scrambled to bring in more coffee and burritos to serve a larger crowd than expected.
Rebecca Murray, a Carbondale resident who commutes by bicycle every day to her job in Glenwood Springs, stopped in for breakfast along with her partner, Darin Binion.
“Bike to Work Day at the library was super fun,” Murray said. “We got to meet some other commuters that we see regularly on the path, but had never stopped to introduce ourselves. Darin and I commute year-round, so we got to be recognized for something we do every day. We are both naturally competitive, so we wanted to see how many miles we could get that week.”
By riding a mountain bike race in Bailey on June 20, Murray hit 189 miles for the week — a personal best — and Binion topped the field with 271 miles.
Grand River Health in Rifle concluded a month of Bike to Work Wednesdays, awarding prizes to employees for participating.
At RFTA’s Carbondale BRT Park and Ride, RFTA staff handed out free coffee, snacks, stickers, pins and bike lights to about 75 bus and bike commuters.
“Since the Rio Grande Trail crosses right through this BRT station, there were bike and bus commuters mingling and stopping to chat, take selfies and grab some coffee and a paper before they headed off to work,” said Jamie Tatsuno, RFTA communications manager.
In New Castle, the Recreation Department hosted a Family Bike Scavenger Hunt, showcasing the new Flattops Pedestrian Bridge and the Talbott Trail. A dozen riders with digital cameras rode along the bridge and trail to take photos matching a list of 28 sites on the hunt.
“The hanging disc golf basket was the most difficult item for people to find,” said Larry McDonald, New Castle recreation director.
On June 25, the Rifle Farmer’s Market gave out a produce prize to any customer who showed up on a bicycle.
And on June 26, Ride Garfield County hosted a Prize Party at the Lost Cajun in Glenwood Springs to announce the team and individual winners and to award prizes.
In the Team Challenge competition, Colorado Mountain College started the competition with a strong early lead. But the Holy Cross Riders, a team of 10, caught up and then passed the CMC team of 12. Holy Cross Riders finished the week with 1,037 miles, outdistancing CMC’s tally of 628. Murray and Binion as a team of two came in third.
The win by the Holy Cross Riders reflects the energy utility’s bike-friendly policies. Holy Cross Energy pays employees $1 a day for every day they bike, walk or carpool to work, and gives a day off for those who do so more than 70 days a year, according to Mary Wiener, energy efficiency program administrator.
The Ride Garfield County local challenge remains active on the National Bike Challenge website. Although the official local Team Challenge is over, riders can still register and log their miles through Sept. 30. Nationwide, more than 87,000 riders are participating.
Ride Garfield County was hosted by Garfield Clean Energy, RFTA, the Garfield County Library District and CLEER, and sponsored by the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Alpine Bank, LiveWell Garfield County, Roaring Fork Family Practice, Backcountry Chiropractic, Glenwood Springs Ford, Grand River Health, Rifle Area Mountain Biking Organization (RAMBO), Ragged Mountain Sports, Aloha Mountain Cyclery, Rad Bikes, Sunlight Ski and Bike Shop, Mountain Sports Outlet, Sweet Coloradough, Defiant Pack, town of New Castle, Rifle Farmer’s Market, city of Rifle, Grand Valley Recreation Center, Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association and the city of Glenwood Springs.
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