Wednesday, August 25, 2010

So far, so good!

I’ve hit a few speed bumps in the road, but have managed to continue my Wild Ride! My car has remained in the garage for commuting and I have purchased only one tank of gas in the past three and a half weeks! I’ve been having a lot of fun riding my bike and have enjoyed the quiet time on the bus to finish up work and read.

Since Aug. 1 I have:
• Biked 93 miles
• Bussed 149 miles
• Carpooled 40 miles
• Saved $80 in fuel costs

Recently I returned from vacationing in one of the world’s most bike- and public transit-friendly cities, Vancouver. In the spirit of the Wild Ride challenge our family decided to attempt to only utilize public transit, walking or biking on our vacation. Fortunately for us, our destination was very accommodating and we were successful.

From the airport we purchased tickets at a kiosk and took a train to a stop just two blocks from our hotel. This took about 25 minutes and was just $18 for all three of us. I can only imagine what the cost of a cab ride would have been. When we arrived at our stop and made our way out of the underground tunnel, we emerged to find a gorgeous city filled with friendly and fit people. Although we were tourists, we immediately felt comfortable with so many people out and about.

Vancouver has a robust public transit system of trains, buses and even boats. It also is very bike friendly and has more than 250 miles of designated bike lanes throughout the city that are safely separated from car traffic. There is also the sea wall, a pathway for pedestrians and bikers to enjoy along the waterfront that surrounds the downtown and Stanley Park areas.

While in Vancouver we walked, took buses and trains and even rented bikes to see Stanley Park. It was great! All these modes of transportation were well utilized and are part of the reason the downtown area is bustling with people enjoying the numerous shops, cafes, restaurants and parks. Although there are cars on the roads, most people were utilizing these other modes of transportation. Vancouver also has several bike lanes downtown that are separated from traffic by medians. The City of Vancouver conducted surveys and found that most bike commuters preferred these separated lanes. Plans are to develop more.

I know that Denver is becoming more bike-friendly and I’m so thankful for our lanes and trails, as well as our bus system and my zoo-provided bus pass. I am also very excited about many of the initiatives to grow our train access in the metro area, providing access from suburbs to the downtown corridor and the airport. Our city will continue to grow and with increased use of these amenities I believe there are many positive effects including vitalizing businesses and tourism, encouraging a fit community and reducing the impact on our environment. Certainly Vancouver is evidence of these benefits.

Our Wild Ride team is doing great using alternative commuting methods so far. Today many of us are taking advantage of the reduced-price bike maintenance being providing to us by a sponsor! My mountain bike is in some serious need of TLC and Chuck from Jack Rabbit Bike and Trail is bringing his tent out to help us with maintenance at a deeply discounted price! This is such a great deal and another way that the zoo is making it easier for us to bike to work.

Thanks for all of your support!