The Anatomy of a Biker

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In honor of Bike to Work Day on June 27th we interviewed some local bicyclists. Each of these people rides their bike to work on a daily basis and have become lifestyle cyclists for very different reasons. They are each an inspiration for anyone who wants to ride more and drive less.

 

Joe BagleyName: Joe Bagley

Occupation: Owner, New World Sports, a bicycle rental company in Fort Collins; Massage therapist

Hometown: Fort Collins

Age: 38 years old

Bio: Joe is a semi-pro cross-country and ultra endurance mountain bike racer with over 10 years racing experience. He trains year round in Fort Collins and travels the world with an adventurous spirit.

 


What does biking do for you? It allows me to travel faster than walking without using any type of non-renewable resources.

Do you find that you can get most places you need to go with a bike? Yep

How long has bicycling been a part of your lifestyle? My entire life, since I was old enough to start riding.

What are some of your greatest biking accomplishments? Definitely the Rio 24 Hours of Steamboat, which I’ve done three times and the Colorado Trail Race (470 miles and 65,000' of elevation gain winding through the Colorado Rocky Mountains from Denver to Durango).

What would you say are the major health benefits to riding your bike? Physical fitness, not burning fossil fuels… I guess those are the two big ones.

How much money do you save a year by biking? Oh geeze, I don’t know, probably about $500.

What is your advice to someone who wants to ride more? Ease into it slow and be patient, because it gets easier. Make sure that you have your bike very well tuned and flat resistant tires so that you can get where you need to be on time and not have to deal with inconvenient mechanical issues. Learn how to commute to work without cycle specific clothes. This way biking will become a part of your daily routine without becoming a hassle.

 

Chris and Marge Van WoerkomName: Chris Van Woerkom

Occupation: Recently retired from Agilent Technologies. VanWoerkom worked at Hewlett-Packard/Agilent Technologies for 35 years in a wide variety of positions in marketing and technical marketing.

Hometown: Loveland

Age: 57 years old

 

What does biking do for you? I bike in order to get in shape and clear my mind. When I’m riding my bike it’s like I’m meditating.

Do you find that you can get most places you need to go with a bike? Yeah, for the most part.

How long has bicycling been a part of your lifestyle? I’ve been biking seriously since about 1971, so for about 41 years.

What are some of your greatest biking accomplishments? I’ve participated in Ride the Rockies (an annual bicycle tour that takes 2,000 cyclists on a 6-7 day ride through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains) three times. In college I participated in the Davis Double Century (a 200 mile organized bike ride starting and ending in Davis, California) three times. But perhaps my greatest accomplishment has been converting a handful of people into lifestyle bicyclists.

What would you say are the major health benefits to riding your bike? Well, biking is obviously a great cardio workout, and its great for your mental health as well. When you’re riding you seldom have to stop for traffic and because of this it’s less stressful than driving. I don’t have to deal with stop and go traffic, so I am able to think about the day and like I said before more or less meditate.

I heard that you won a biking award at work. What was the award? On Bike to Work Day they gave me the award for the Most Avid Biker. I drove to work a total of five days that year.

What is your advice to someone who wants to ride more? Start easy and enjoy the ride. Biking lets you look around, so take some time to smell the roses.

How much money do you save a year by biking? Well, on the surface it’s actually not that much, maybe $300 in gas. But if you factor in the price of an oil change and other wear and tear I’d say probably about $400-500. Then again, if you really want to get into it, consider how often you need to buy a car and how much less wear it gets sitting in the garage. That means that you could potentially add a few years to the life of your car and save thousands of dollars.

 

Alyse HoughtonName: Alyse Houghton                                                   

Occupation: Receptionist at Floyd’s 99 Barber Shop                                               

Hometown: Denver                                                                                       

Age: 23 years old        

               

  

 

 

 

What does biking do for you? It is my main means of transportation. It helps sustain me in many ways since I don’t have a car. It’s entertaining and fun and it’s good for your health, gives me exercise, unintentional exercise, haha! I mean I bike because I have to, but I get a great workout at the same time.

Do you find that you can get most places you need to go with a bike? Within Denver, yes, but once a week I catch a ride to Loveland to visit my boyfriend and my family.

Just out of curiosity, why don’t you have a car? When I moved to Cap Hill it was way more of a pain to have one than not and I honesty couldn’t afford license plates for it. So, I drove it to my mom’s place and it’s been there for two years now. For the longest time I just walked everywhere but having a bike allows me to get where I need to go.

How long has bicycling been a part of your lifestyle? To this extent, probably for six months. Obviously I’ve been biking forever, but I got my bike six months ago and it has been my only vehicle ever since.

What are some of your greatest biking accomplishments? Accomplishments, um, I don’t know, I rode 17 miles one day. And I can ride with my dog, that’s cool. I’m not a serious biker, but those are big accomplishments for me.

What would you say are the major health benefits to riding your bike? Well, it’s as simple as just getting a little bit of cardio exercise in and as complex as having a sustainable pollutant free way to travel.

What is your advice to someone who wants to ride more? Move to Capital Hill (Denver), get a bike and get rid of your car. You will ride a lot!

How much money do you save a year by biking? I would say $2,000 easily. I’m not paying insurance, not paying for gas, not paying for car repairs. And parking tickets, I didn’t even factor parking tickets. I save lots of money!

High Park Fire: Reviewing safe camping procedures

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High Park Fire seen from Horsetooth Reservoir

Can you imagine a Fourth of July without fireworks? If Colorado doesn’t find a way to control its wildfires this may very well become a reality. Governor John Hickenlooper has issued a statewide fire ban forbidding open burning and private use of fireworks; however, commercial, professional and municipal fireworks shows will still be allowed with written approval. All of this is in response to a number of Colorado fires, the largest of which has now spread to over 83,000 acres.  The state has recorded at least $20 million in damages caused by the High Park Fire and at least 248 homes have been destroyed. This makes it the most destructive fire in Colorado’s history. Caused by lightening, the fire is now commanding the attention of over 2,000 firefighters working in 24-hour shifts, 132 fire engines, 17 helicopters, 41 hand crews and four heavy air tankers. Last Thursday officials declared that 55% of the fire had been contained; however, since then they have lost ground and now have control over a mere 45%. With over half a dozen fires burning across the state this is the most fire-ridden summer in over a decade. Firefighters continue to battle the blaze and residents wait anxiously to return home. Did you know:

  • Approximately 655,200 outdoor fires occur annually in the United States. The result?
    • 50 deaths
    • 875 injuries
    • $154 million in losses
  • 41% of fires in the US occur outdoors
  • Approximately 47% of outdoor fires are trash or rubbish fires (USFA)

With so many fires in the area including Wyoming, New Mexico, and Utah it is especially important to use precautions this summer in order to prevent more fires. Here are some tips to keep in mind while camping and enjoying our beautiful mountains and state parks:

  • Avoid parking vehicles on dry grass.
  • If smoking, make sure there is a three-foot clearing around you. This means avoid smoking where there is dry grass or anything that could catch fire. Dispose of your cigarette in some sort of trash receptacle.
  •  Leave campsites as you found them. Travel on marked trails and roads and avoid leaving anything behind.
  • Use proper fire safety. Avoid taking burning sticks out of the fire, do not light fireworks outdoors, and inspect your campsite before you leave.
  • Place stoves, lanterns, and heaters a good distance from combustibles.
  • Never use stoves, lanterns, heaters, or any other flame inside a tent. (Smokey Bear)

In the US, the leading cause of outdoor fires is unintentional neglect or misuse of materials. With this in mind we should all try to be especially careful when handling an open flame or flammable materials outdoors. Please keep the evacuees of the High Park fire in your thoughts as our noble firefighters do what they can to contain the fire and minimize damage.  

Bike to Work Day: June 27th - Three Benefits of Biking

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(Photo: Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

With general concerns about higher gasoline prices, signs of global climate change and an obesity epidemic, there is a recent surge in the number of Coloradoans opting for their bicycle as a primary transportation option.

Many cities have increased their support of biking, as people search for greener, healthier, and cheaper transportation options. Cities like Denver have added low-cost bicycle lanes, the B-Cycle bike sharing program and bike parking options to reduce traffic, improve air quality and promote a healthier lifestyle.

Air Care Colorado is proud to support Bike to Work Day, scheduled for June 27th. The annual free event promotes biking as a choice for those who work along the Front Range and commonly commute by driving alone. The goal is to introduce biking as a commute option and hope that it becomes a more frequent choice.

With the focus on biking and Bike to Work Day, here are three benefits of biking to consider once you have proven to yourself that it is a viable option:

 

1. Biking is good for you.

If you’re looking for a full body workout that will leave you evenly toned from head to toe, look no further. Biking burns calories and boosts energy, while getting you to where you need to go. Are you a runner? Biking puts less stress on your knees, ankles, and spine than either walking or running while giving you just as good of a workout. There is another healthy perk to riding your bike, like any aerobic exercise, biking helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Whether you ride once a week or every single day, please remember to be safe and always wear a helmet!

 

2. Riding saves you money.

Have you ever calculated how much money you spend on gas and vehicle maintenance per year? What about highway tolls and parking fees? Depending on where you live you could save a lot of money by riding your bike from place to place. According to the National Household Transportation Survey, [link - http://nhts.ornl.gov/ ] half of Americans live within five miles of their work. The average person could bike that in about 20 minutes. Now let’s say you bike to work twice a week, five miles each way. That should burn about 3,000 calories (one pound of fat) per month. Now you’re not only saving money, but you’re getting in a great workout at the same time. Ready to calculate how much you could save by biking to work? Try Kiplinger’s bike to work calculator. [link- http://www.kiplinger.com/tools/bike/]

 

3. Contribute to better air quality.

Why does Mother Nature love bicycles? They are 100% emissions free and they don’t take up much space in the junkyard. Unlike motor vehicles, which contribute to air pollution, bicycles are completely eco-friendly. When driving short distances in a car, it takes the catalytic converter a while to kick in and clean up your emissions. Because of this, the first few miles of your drive are often the most polluting. For this reason, it makes sense to make short trips by bike in order to reduce the emissions that you are putting out into the air. If your longer trips are by car, at least you’ll feel better knowing that you’re making an effort to pollute less when you can.

 

Dust off the bike you have in the garage, pump up your tires, and join in the second largest bike to work day in the country. As an added benefit, Breakfast Stations will be open 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
 and Bike Home Stations will be open 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.