Vail Valley commuters cruise on Bike to Work Day | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley commuters cruise on Bike to Work Day

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/dtaylor@vaildaily.comNicolette Dais stops at the Dowd Junction aid station with her dog lucky in tow on her way to work during the Vail Valley's annual Bike to Work day
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VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – Some do it for the exercise, some do it because they like to ride. For some it’s routine, and others admit the swag and free food didn’t hurt.

Those are a few of the reasons more than 215 Eagle County residents hopped on their bikes Wednesday morning for annual Bike to Work Day. ECO Trails and other local volunteers set up rider stations from Gypsum to Vail, where riders could get water bottles, socks, grab coffee and food, and stop to chat with other riders.

“The bigger purpose (of the event) is to encourage people to use alternative forms of transportation – for health, environment and community quality,” said Ellie Caryl of ECO Trails. “And the side purpose is to have fun.”

The day also serves to encourage people who aren’t regular bike commuters to ride more often, or get those who have been “thinking about it” all spring to hit the road, she said.

Karl Krupp was one such commuter, who said he regularly rode to work up in Beaver Creek last year, but has not as much this year.

“Being Bike to Work Day, I knew if I didn’t ride today, I would be bummed,” he said.

The event has grown over the years, with more families and younger children participating, said Debbie Buckley, who has helped run a rider station for 10 years in a row.

“I love to bike, but I work at home, so I want to support the people who do ride to work,” Buckley said.

Many commuters said they find the morning bike ride relaxing, as well as a good way to incorporate a workout into their day. Edwards resident Dan Brewster, an avid cyclist, said he rides his bike to work a few times a week.

“I have two kids, and takes a little extra planning to get a ride in,” he said. “There’s not as much time to exercise with the kids. You can’t just go out for a three-hour ride after work.”

Commuter Ryan Stecher said the morning ride wakes him up for work.

“It works like coffee sometimes,” he said.

While some said the recent rains have deterred them from riding to and from work, others said that the weather doesn’t daunt them.

Eagle-Vail resident Julie Spinnato, a yoga instructor, said she’s been riding around the valley to her different work locations.

“I try to ride despite the weather, I just bring a rain jacket,” Spinnato said. “More often I regret not riding just because it looks like it’s going to rain.”

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Those who regularly commute by bike said that riding to work isn’t too difficult with some careful planning. Edwards resident Claire Kippola, who said she tries to ride to work at Beaver Creek at least twice a week, said she tries to bring all her lunches and changes of clothes to the office on Monday.

“That way I don’t have any excuse not to ride,” she said. “There are a 1,000 reasons why you can’t bike to work. You just have to do it, that’s my belief.”

Brewster said he just leaves some clothes at work and arrives relatively fresh thanks to the cool mornings.

“You can really do it on almost every bike,” he said. “Depending on the weather, I have an old mountain bike with these fat all-purpose tires that work really well.”

Eagle-Vail resident Pedro Campos, who was dropping his daughter off at day care on his way to work, said it helps when workplaces are commuter friendly, providing locker rooms or showers and a nearby bike rack.

“I’m trying to ride more and more,” Campos said. “The kids love it – my daughter actually asks me if we can ride.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com