Fight high gas prices; bike to work |

Fight high gas prices; bike to work

With spring weather finally here and gas prices steadily climbing, that other set of wheels collecting dust in the garage is looking better and better. Monday, May 15 to Friday, May 19 is National Bike to Work Week and the second annual organized recognition of the event in Nevada County.

The Alliance for People-Powered Transportation (APPLE) has organized the event and loaded it with fun incentives to guide the community toward less fossil fuel dependence.

Friday is Bike to Work Day and will begin with a “Cafe Crawl” to entice sleepy travelers with free coffee and baked goods from area coffee houses. Caroline’s, both Flour Gardens, Rebecca’s Mighty Muffins, Hollywood Sweets, the Mecca and Empire Street Market will offer free goodies to bicyclists.

Tour of Nevada City Bicycle Shop and TR2 Bicycle Shop will also give away free gifts. Prizes will be awarded for the “New Commuter Award” and “Most Dedicated Rider Award.” The week will conclude with a celebratory dinner at Tortilla Grill at 6:30 p.m.

The idea for merchant involvement is based after Boulder, Colo.’s much-celebrated bike to work week in which the whole town sets up shop on the sidewalk and cheers passing bicyclists.

“When you get on your bicycle and slow down you have a better ability to connect locally,” said Shana Maziarz, one of the organizers of this year’s event who rides her bike seven miles to work rain or shine.

Maziarz suggests that for people considering the idea who may have some reservations about safety or ability, escorts are available to assist on the trip and build confidence. An e-mail address is available for people with questions and requests for maps of safe routes.

Maziarz recommends gradually building physical strength and mental courage by practicing rides around the neighborhood before setting off on longer trips. Know basic traffic safety and be sure to have your bike tuned. Practice the route to work on a day off when there are no time constraints that could make the trip stressful.

“Work up to it. Create a step system for getting back on,” said Maziarz. “There’s something empowering about being able to get where you’re going without the need of a vehicle.”

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