Grab your bike and pedal to work Friday


By Sue Cody


bike to work logoFriday is National Bike to Work Day, started by the League of American Bicyclists. The idea is to encourage people to leave their motor vehicles at home, save gas and get some exercise.


It doesn’t take Bike to Work Day to inspire Joe Garrison to pedal from his home in Alderbrook to the Blue Scorcher Bakery Cafe. He bikes to work nearly every day.


“It more fun,” Garrison says. “In a monkish sort of sense, it is a nice bookending of the day to ride to work, then ride home. It’s sort of like a sheep dip task to forget your troubles.


“The city … built this beautiful Riverwalk from the front door of my house to downtown.”


For six years, Evan Price has commuted by bicycle from Emerald Heights at the east end of Astoria to Bikes and Beyond on 11th Street. He says during the summer, it takes less time than driving, and it is healthier and less expensive. He appreciates not having to pay for auto maintenance and insurance.


Shasia Fry promotes transportation options such as bicycling, walking, public transportation and carpooling as the sole employee of Northwest Transportation Options, working with Clatsop, Tillamook and Columbia counties. Her position is funded by a grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).


Fry says the benefits of bicycle riding are many, including a reduction in stress, because of breathing fresh air and increasing the blood flow. It’s also good for the cardiovascular system and toning muscles. She points out riding a bike is easier on the joints than pounding the pavement while running.


Last year’s “Drive Less. Save More.” program targeting Clatsop County was a huge success, Fry says. People became aware of more options, such as bicycling, when she presented materials at markets and events. She says the participation in the county was 13.4 percent, much higher than the average 8 percent in other communities.


The League of American Bicyclists reports that from 2000 to 2013, the number of bicycle commuters in the U.S. grew by more than 62 percent.


Fry says many people are now using bicycles in combination with the Sunset Empire Transportation’s buses, because of the ease of loading a bike on the bus. One bicyclist she knows rides the bus from Long Beach, Washington, to Astoria, then bicycles to Warrenton for work.


Bike to workGarrison says, “Riding my bike is the key way in which I experience that which I would otherwise miss. It engages the five senses and gives me an appreciation of the four seasons.”


When he arrives at work, he says he feels alive, alert, relaxed, and is able to think clearly. “It’s like being offered free ice cream on the way to work. I don’t know why more people don’t take advantage of it.”