Park City gears up for Bike To Work Day
Park City, Summit County and trail organizations hope this Friday, people choose to buckle a helmet, sling a Camelbak over their shoulders, and rev up their leg muscles instead of their car engines in honor of Bike To Work Day.
Mountain Trails Foundation Executive Director Carol Potter and Summit County’s year-old Alternative Transportation Committee decided to promote the day in an effort to increase awareness about pedestrian and cyclist safety.
The committee has been working with the county’s Public Works Administrator Kevin Callahan to include extra bikable, walkable trails beside new roads as part of the Snyderville Basin Master Transportation plan, Potter says.
Potter thought of Bike To Work Day as an opportunity to not only make use of new trail, but to also get an idea of exactly how many commuters might take advantage of trails to get to work.
"When Kevin Callahan asked how many people bike in Park City and I didn’t know, so I thought, well, what a great way to track it — if we participated in a nationwide event, it would be fun and give us really important data," she said.
This is the only year Potter recalls the community has participated in the national event, but the United States has, in fact, designated a day for cycling on an annual basis
for 50 years, according to The League of American Bicyclists spokeswoman Elizabeth Preston.
The 126-year-old League inherited the celebration of Bike Month in the 1970s from the now defunct cycling trade association, the Bicycle Institute of America, she says.
The League supports bicycling "for fun, fitness and transportation through advocacy and by working with the federal transportation Bill," Preston said. "One of the ways we promote bicycling is we say it solves a lot of issues America is facing, such as obesity, gas prices and the environment."
While the organization is national, its 600 league members promote and sponsor bicycling events locally, Preston explained. Colorado, for example, celebrates Bike Month in June instead of May, when the weather is more cooperative, she notes.
As a Park City incentive to pedal, the Mountain Trails Foundation is challenging office-bound employees to compete with a team or individually for mileage and participation points in a "Bike/Walk Commuter Challenge." Cyclists must submit a log of miles and participants by June 1 to enter in the contest. Winners will be announced at National Trails Day June 3 in Park City Mountain Resort’s First Time parking lot.
Those who live too far from work to bike can participate in the challenge by walking a minimum of a mile on a lunch break, or by riding their bikes for two miles during the day. Reporting a team’s numbers is strictly "on your honor," Potter says.
Potter has already been told of teams organizing in advance — Cole Sport, she says, is already "fired up."
Cole Sport store manager Scott Dudevoir says, as one of the founding members of the Alternative Transportation Committee, he feels compelled to get as many people to participate as possible.
"I think ultimately, we can help shape awareness and transportation around the community&I definitely think people could walk and bike more," he said.
Park City Chamber/Bureau Director of Member Services Kristin Carpenter said the Chamber/Bureau staff would also compete in the challenge.
"We approached the foundation to sponsor the event, because we’re in support of the objective of biking or walking to work it’s good for the environment," she said. "We definitely plan to have a team [that will be biking to work]."
The Chamber/Bureau has also joined Mountain Trails and the Snyderville Basin Special Recreation District to promote the event, inviting cycling commuters to a morning pit stop at the Yarrow Hotel parking lot. Cyclists who stop by from 7:30 to 9: 30 a.m. will be able to pick up complimentary coffee, bagels and bicycle bells.
Organizers at the Yarrow will also distribute the Mountain Trails Foundation’s new Cyclist’s Map, detailing all 340 miles of trails in the area available for 2006.
This year, the Foundation added six new miles to the map, including a few in Round Valley, near S.R. 248, a road at the Utah Olympic Park and a finished East S.R. 224 Connector Trail.
Mountain Trails, in conjunction with several citywide and countywide organizations will additionally celebrate the grand opening of the connector trail with a "Silver Spoke Gala" on Saturday.
According to Potter, since the route parallels S.R. 224 and crosses wetlands, several bridges were built. "It took a few years," she said, and was a "very expensive" project.
The theme of Saturday’s event is a take off on "connecting the United States with a golden spike," she notes, and will feature a 9 a.m. bike ride or walk from Dan’s Food parking lot or Basin Recreation Field House to the Willow Creek Park. Festivities will include a bike rodeo, bike safety checks from local bike shops and free youth helmets from the Summit County Health Department.
Potter says that if one person rides a bike to work on Friday, she will view the event as a success, but she suspects the event to build in years to come. Her greatest hope would be for Park City’s hills "to be alive with bicycle bells."
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