The seventh annual Bike to Work Day, sponsored by Wood River Rideshare, began chilly and breezy. For those riding to Hailey, including many students on their way to Wood River High School, all was good. The wind gave a most appreciated added push toward their destination. However, those riding north had a few disadvantages, namely wind, wind and wind.
"We had over 400 people who biked to work or school," said Rideshare Executive Director Jason Miller. "We had great sponsor booths along the path."
Miller said those included Marketron, with help from Zaney's River Street Coffeehouse, for the coffee, Blaine County Recreation District, Smith, Sturto's, Scott USA, St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center, the Environmental Resource Center, YMCA, Sun Summit South, Ski Tek and the Elephant's Perch.
"The Wood River Trail was busy with bikes all morning and there were several memorable stories," Miller said.
One woman who rode from Hailey to Ketchum had just gotten a new road bike but had never ridden farther than a few miles. Two Smith employees rode from Ketchum down to Hailey to meet co-workers and then ride back up to Ketchum. Apparently, they didn't think it was fair that they only had to ride a couple miles to work and their buddies from Hailey had to ride 14 miles.
Scott Runkel, a teacher at The Community School in Sun Valley, led a group of nearly 30 students to school on their bikes. And then there was "a tough woman who had a basket dragging on her rear tire but still was cruising along," Miller said. On a 25-year-old 10-speed, she was wearing tennis sneakers. Her riding partner wore Teva-type sandals. They rode from old Hailey and South Woodside, respectively, to Ketchum, and were among just three people in their office who rode to work that day, not enough to win the Employer Bike to Work Challenge, but enough to feel satisfied for the rest of the day.
The results of the challenge were:
· First place to Ketchum-based Scott USA, with 83 percent participation.
· Second place to Hailey-based Marketron, with 75 percent participation.
· Third place to Ketchum-based Smith, with 50 percent participation.
· Honorable mentions include The Community School with 23 percent, Power Engineers with 20 percent and St. Luke's with 12 percent.
Bike to Work Day is also the official start of the Smart Moves program, which runs through July 29. Each summer, the Smart Moves Community Challenge is the valley's only alternative transportation event designed to encourage people in the Wood River Valley to reduce car trips. Participants track their Smart Moves—trips by bike, foot, carpool or bus that substitute for driving alone—on the official Trip Tracker. For every 10 trips, participants are entered into the end-of-the-season prize drawing.
"Besides being eligible for prizes, there are many other benefits of participating, such as reducing your carbon footprint, money saved at the gas pump and less wear and tear on your car, improved physical fitness and lower stress levels," Miller said. "The whole community benefits from less traffic and pollution and less demand for parking."
New aspects to the Smart Moves challenge this year are a carbon calculator on Trip Trackers and an end-of-the-year party combined with the Blaine County Recreation District's "Bike the Rails" event on July 29. As well, there will be Carpool and Bus Challenge weeks with special prizes for those weeks, a Bikefest at the Ketchum Criterium on June 17 and special events such as an Errand Run.
Trip Trackers are available at Wood River Rideshare, 411 Leadville Ave., Suite 6, in Ketchum, or online at wrrs.org or by calling 788-RIDE.