Climate Action Collaborative: Biking is an easy way to help the planet
Why do we change our biking habits once we become adults? I’m likely no different than you that, as a kid, I rode my bike all the time, whether it was visiting friends in the neighborhood or heading to Dunkin’ for that maple frosted donut. Biking gave me a sense of freedom and, being too young to drive, it was my only true source of mobility. As I got older, biking became a less important mode of transportation. Once I got my driver’s license, it was sayonara, bike.
Flash forward a decade and the first recommendation after arriving in the Vail Valley was to start mountain biking. Over the past 12 years, biking has become an important recreational activity for me. Whether it’s mountain or road riding, I see biking as an opportunity for exercise and enjoyment, adrenaline rushes and trips to the first aid aisle at City Market. However, it seems like the majority of my bike riding still involves one thing: my car.
I spend time driving to the trailhead or driving to the shop. Even heading to the West Avon Preserve for a ride involves driving, and I live in Avon! For all the good I’m doing for the environment and my health by biking, I’m undoing it when I hop in my car to drive across town to ride.
Did you know we save can save 15.1 pounds of carbon emissions each day by riding our bikes instead of driving our cars? I know you’re thinking that these trips are hard to change because biking all the way from Avon to Eagle just to start a new bike ride seems unrealistic. But what about that ride across town? Why don’t I ride to Edwards to hang out with friends? What about the trip across town to the Westin for FAC or workouts … ahem … pool days? Why don’t I use my bike to get around anymore?
In the upper valley, the Eagle Valley Trail makes it incredibly easy to get around with its quick and safe access into Avon, down to Edwards, over to VBC, up to Vail, and heck it even goes right past my gym. Downvalley, the number of multi-use paths in Eagle and over to Gypsum provide the same convenience.
There is even a great pedestrian bridge to get you up and over I-70. Yet, even with these awesome bike amenities, I still find that my commuting habits center around my car.
After participating in and learning from the Climate Action Collaborative for the Eagle County Community for the past couple of years, I’ve come to realize that I’m not helping our situation by driving my car the mile to the gym or three miles downhill to grab a bite and beer in Edwards. In fact, I’m contributing to those 1.28 million hot air balloons of carbon that we release from this community each year.
The Climate Action Collaborative group has really helped me understand the impacts my mobility choices are having on the environment, but with some additional thought and some very simple behavior changes, I can begin making a small change.
So I’m pledging to change my behavior starting this summer. I’m going to change one trip a week from my car to my bike. It could be a small grocery trip, the gym, a beer and bite somewhere. Heck, my garage has a bike for each occasion anyway, so why not pull one out and head over to FAC?
I hope you will join me in giving this a try and proving to ourselves that it’s not that hard and it will be way more fun. It’s just one more way we can help our community achieve its Climate Action Plan goals of a 25% reduction in carbon pollution by 2025. Learn more about how to get involved at climateactioncollaborative.org.
Jared Barnes is the planning manager at ECO Transit.