Longer Ride Garfield event aims to fight bridge congestion | PostIndependent.com

Longer Ride Garfield event aims to fight bridge congestion

Heather McGregor
Clean Energy Economy News
Holy Cross Energy’s team of 10 riders won the 2015 Ride Garfield County Team Challenge, riding 1,037 miles during the Team Challenge period, June 19-26. The team won five RFTA punch passes and bragging rights. From left are Craig Tate, Wes MacCachran, Connie Overton, Farshideh Jahani, Mary Wiener and Steve Casey. Submitted photo.
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INFORMATION

For more information about RIDE Garfield County, including links to get registered for the Team Challenge, the growing schedule of events and a list of sponsors, visit www.GarfieldCleanEnergy.org.

Ride Garfield County is back in action for 2016, with a five-month Team Challenge competition for biking and bus riding for county residents of all ages, along with bicycle events from Parachute to Carbondale.

Ride Garfield runs from May 1 through Sept. 30, and riders are encouraged to register during April to be ready for the May 1 start date for the Team Challenge.

Riders can compete individually and in teams by logging their miles for bicycling and for riding Roaring Fork Transportation Authority buses.

“This fun, countywide competition and the local events will help people make a habit of bike-riding and bus-riding, for commuting and for recreation,” said Jason White, board member of Garfield Clean Energy and a planner for RFTA.

“And there will be prizes for teams and individual riders who tally top bike and bus miles,” White said.

By running for a five-month period, Ride Garfield County is also aimed at helping ease traffic congestion in Glenwood Springs during the Grand Avenue Bridge replacement project.

“The bridge project is already affecting traffic flow,” said Dave Betley, assistant public works director for Glenwood Springs. “We want to encourage people to use Ride Garfield County try out different ways of getting around, which can help minimize the impacts of construction.”

“We encourage employers throughout Garfield County, particularly those affected by the bridge construction, to register teams to participate,” said event organizer Karen Wahrmund of Garfield Clean Energy. “Workplace teams that use bikes or the bus for getting to work can help mitigate congestion and ease commuting challenges.”

Garfield Clean Energy and CLEER are the organizers for Ride Garfield County, and the online Team Challenge is hosted on the National Bike Challenge website.

Other sponsors include RFTA, Garfield County Libraries, the City of Glenwood Springs, LiveWell Garfield County, Carbondale Area Chamber of Commerce, Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce, Parachute-Battlement Mesa Area Chamber of Commerce and the Parachute Battlement Mesa Trail Group.

Additional sponsors are welcome to help with local events and prizes.

Local events that promote bicycling are a key part of Ride Garfield County.

“The RIDE Garfield schedule already has 13 local events, including National Bike to School Day on May 4, bike rodeos, bike-in breakfast stations for National and Colorado Bike to Work Days, Bonedale Bike Week, a bike tune-up clinic, Ride for the Child and the Rifle Triathlon,” said Wahrmund.

An advance event is this Saturday, April 2, when Battle On The Mesa offers a 5K run, a 1.5-mile Family Fun Run or Bike, and a time-trial bicycle Hill Climb for teens and adults, all at Battlement Mesa. Registration includes a free T-shirt and refreshments. For details, visit GarfieldCleanEnergy.org.

REGISTER IN APRIL

Everyone in Garfield County is encouraged to register during April for the RIDE Garfield Team Challenge. Once riders register on the National Bike Challenge website, they can log their bike-riding miles on the site and build points for their team.

Riders and teams can also log their miles for riding RFTA buses. From the Garfield Clean Energy website, bus riders can download an Excel spreadsheet to keep a tally on their computer, or download a PDF that can be printed out to keep a tally on paper.

For the bicycling Team Challenge on the National Bike Challenge website, registered riders can form a team as a workplace, a school or as a league, which can be any group of riders other than a workplace or school. Each rider can be a member of just one team.

The National Bike Challenge website allows riders to log miles directly, or by using apps such as Facebook, Strava, MapMyRide or Endomondo. All outdoor riding for any purpose can be counted toward the Team Challenge.

Riders can start logging miles in April to get familiar with the system. All the numbers will reset to zero on the morning of May 1, and the five-month competition will officially start that day.

“Be sure to count your bus miles,” advised RFTA’s Jason White. “It will make a big difference in building your team’s score, and in helping our communities ease traffic congestion.”

TEAM HOLY CROSS

In 2015, Ride Garfield County was squeezed into nine days. During that time, Wahrmund said, 106 riders participated on 13 teams, logging 4,418 total miles.

“This year, with a five-month event, we’d like to see hundreds of children, teens and adults out riding their bikes and riding the bus,” Wahrmund said. “We believe as a countywide effort, we can hit 80,000 miles of bike riding.”

In 2015, Holy Cross Energy won the Team Challenge, and the electric utility is already enrolled in the Team Challenge for 2016.

“We are excited to participate in this year’s event,” said Mary Wiener, coordinator of Team Holy Cross. “We hope to add miles to our record with the addition of other Holy Cross Energy employees. We encourage area employers, schools and other groups to join us for this fun and healthy competition.”