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Self-propelled commuters take to roads Friday

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Some Juneau commuters will be trading their cars for bikes Friday for Bike to Work Day.

"It's a great way to get exercise and keep your weight down. It keeps you fit and most of all you're not polluting," said Dennis Harris of the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club, which organizes the annual event. "It's just a way to get people started biking to work for the year, just a way to nudge them."

Mayor Sally Smith set Friday as Bike To Work Day in Juneau in a proclamation last week, saying the bicycle offers a clean, quiet, affordable, and healthy alternative to automobile commuting.

Cyclists can meet at Super Bear from 6:30 to 7 a.m. for a free continental breakfast. Valley riders who wish to join a mass ride downtown should meet there by 6:45 a.m., or join the ride at Fred Meyer, Western Auto, or Twin Lakes.

North Douglas riders will meet at the entrance to Bonnie Brae subdivision, and Douglas riders will meet at the Douglas Library at 7:15 a.m.

Riders also can meet at the Dimond Courthouse plaza for food and drink about 7:45 a.m.

"We'll have free bagels, fruit, juice and pastries," Harris said. "You've got to do some carbo-loading somewhere if you're going to ride your bike."

Harris has helped organize the event for the past five years. Some folks join in who ride to work nearly every day.

"One woman had a sign on her bike that said, 'Burns Only Cholesterol,' " Harris said.

Harris is an avid cyclist. He said he used his bike to commute when he worked for the state, but now works at home and doesn't need to. He's said he's owned a car only four years out of the past 20.

"Now with bike racks on the bus you can bike one way and take the bus the other," he said.

John Wray biked to work every day for many years, riding from his home near the airport to Bartlett Regional Hospital.

"When you've got the wind, the rain and the cold it's a real challenge, but I try," he said. "I used to ride every day but I have too many things going on in my life now."

He said the ride, about six miles one way, took 15 or 20 minutes.

"It took about 15 minutes to put on all the layers of clothes to keep warm," he added.

Bike To Work Day is sponsored by the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club, Super Bear and Silverbow Bagels. For additional information, contact Harris at 586-2384.

Riley Woodford can be reached at rileyw@juneauempire.com.



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