RAMBLIN' MAN: Jump on board for Bike to Work Day

June 25, 2013 Updated: June 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm
photo - Colorado Springs ranked 31st among the top 50 bike-friendly cities in the United States. (Gazette file)
Colorado Springs ranked 31st among the top 50 bike-friendly cities in the United States. (Gazette file) 

Become a part of the city's biking culture, even if just for a day.

Wednesday is Bike to Work Day, and there are a plethora of events planned: free breakfasts, a ride-along with the Colorado Springs City Council and other community leaders, and a corporate challenge to see who can get the most employees to ride a bike to work. In last year's corporate challenge, riders from more than 40 companies participated.

The ride-along with the city starts at 6:30 a.m. at 107 N. Nevada Ave. and heads south to the Pioneers Museum.

"It's not just a ride; it's a social event because it happens once a year," said Charlie Czarniecki, president of the Colorado Springs Cycling Club.

Bicycling magazine included Colorado Springs in its list of the top 50 bike-friendly cities in the United States last year. The Springs ranked 31st. The bummer is that we ranked behind Denver and Fort Collins.

Boulder was third, and Portland, Ore., was No. 1.

Bicyclists are common here. They're on the roads, trails, numerous bike paths and in the velodrome in Memorial Park.

You just have to respect these hard-core bike types. Not only are they quite likely the healthiest people in the world, riding in the state's skinny air like they do. They're also brave enough to take on the traffic in Colorado Springs, seemingly a mecca for aggressive drivers.

Some of us here don't fit the stereotype, however. Bicyclists are pretty spindly people, ligament and muscle, brightly colored birds with immense lung capacity perched on two wheels.

Lots of us are shorter and stubbier. Our bikes lack the proper panache. We're clunky, with bellies and thick thighs. A ride for us before first gasp is a trek around the block.

And yet, we ride, persisting in the face of our shortcomings.

I wear a bicycle helmet. But I stop at the skintight clothing. My body is better fit for billowing garb, T-shirts three sizes too large and pants that would fit a troll. It is in spite of me, or perhaps because the likes of myself are allowed to ride, that the city ranked so high in Bicycling magazine.

Everybody can ride.

It's a good and honorable thing in these days of high-octane gas prices, global warming and traffic congestion.

Now, if we could just beat Denver.


Reader comment about last week's column on backseat drivers:

Gene Cohrs, a retired Michigan State Police trooper, recalled a joke he was told while on the force. An elderly gentleman is driving on the freeway. A trooper pulls up behind him, lights flashing.

"Was I doing something wrong? Was my driving bad?" the gentleman asks.

"No sir, you're driving was fine," the trooper says. "But did you know that you left your wife at the rest stop about 20 miles back."

"Thank God," says the man. "I thought for a minute there I was going deaf."

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