As customers cluttered into Brave New Wheel on Monday, mapping out their routes for Bike to Work Day, it was clear that the event has become a fixture.
Fort Collins is a biking community. From the New Belgium bike racks lining Old Townâ€™s streets to the new â€œbike boxâ€ on the corner of Plum Street and Shields Street, bikes are openly celebrated.
And twice a year bike commuters are welcomed along their morning rides-to-work by the City of Fort Collins and local businesses that team up for Bike to Work Day.
From 6:30 am to 10 a.m. cyclists can take advantage of free food, free bike maintenance and even heart health examinations at any of the 42 booths located around Fort Collins.
Lorin Scott-Okerblom, a CSU graduate student, has participated in every one of the four Bike to Work Days sheâ€™s been in Fort Collins for.
â€œYou see these people at the bike stations who commute. At the Winter Bike to Work Day I met someone who commuted 22 miles â€“â€“ so you can do it,â€ Scott-Okerblom said.
And itâ€™s not just Scott-Okerblom. According to Molly North, Assistant FC Bikes Coordinator, the number of cyclists who attended the Summer Bike to Work Day in 2008 was 3,175. Last year, that number was up to 5,663, and the projected turnout for this yearâ€™s is 7,000.
The projected 7,000 commuters will have 42 breakfast stations to choose from along their commute, down from 57 last year. The number of stations is fewer because businesses were tasked to partner at stations this year, North said.
â€œI hope businesses will pool their resources in order to create fun breakfast stations with chalk, sandwich boards, music, etc. Iâ€™d like to see this new collaborative model facilitate connections between local businesses and enhance the energetic cycling culture in Fort Collins,â€ North said in an email.
One example of the new collaborative spirit is the CSU campus breakfast station located in the Oval. The station is jointly sponsored by CSU Parking Services and Dellenbach Motors.
The station will feature breakfast, bike maps, bike registration forms and a raffle for a CSU cycling jersey.
â€œWeâ€™ve gotten upward of 300 people coming through in the past. We are hoping for more this year because itâ€™s been increasing,â€ said Jennifer Johnson, Co-Campus Bike Coordinator.
With 2011 marking the 23rd anniversary of Bike to Work Day, the event has become a well-noted event on many bike commutersâ€™ calendars.
â€œItâ€™s really becoming a holiday. A lot of people take the morning off work to bike around and experience it,â€ North said.
Scott-Okerblom doesnâ€™t skip work to hit all of the breakfast stations, but did hint that she bikes more than necessary for the twice-a-year event.
â€œI would say that if itâ€™s a bike to work day, I will take full advantage of the biking stops out there,â€ Scott-Okerblom said.
To learn more about Bike to Work Day, including a full map of the various stations, visit www.fcgov.com/bicycling.
Staff writer Nic Turiciano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.