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Building Community On Two Wheels

Thursday, 25 October 2012 09:37 Written by  Jesse Dean

Cycling is not just a mode of transportation or recreational activity; it's a form of cultural expression. It's no secret that SLC is home to a very active population. With the mountains only 30 minutes from the valley floor and countless trails and paths at our doorstep, the opportunities for outdoor exercise are endless. Our cycling community is a subset of this outdoors population valuing exercise, alternative transportation, friendship, empowerment and self-reliance.

Thanks to Mayor Ralph Becker and his administration's leadership in alternative urban transportation, SLC is rapidly transforming into a premier bike friendly urban community. From restriping and widening existing commuting lanes to introducing innovative separated lanes that improve the safety of riders such as those on 300 East, our city is working hard to make sure that cycling enthusiasts stay safe and comfortable. The big question is, why? Why is our city going through all of this effort? Is cycling just a fad?

The answer is no.

Seeking to better understand this cycling community, I decided the best way would be to reach out to those who are dedicated to ensuring SLC is a great place to bike. Mayor Becker is an avid cyclistMayor Becker is an avid cyclist

Bike Share

Ben Bolte, Program Manager of SLC's Bike Sharing program Green Bike, has been working tirelessly for over two years to launch a bike sharing system in downtown.  Bike Share removes some of the perceived hassles, such as you don't need to own, store, worry or maintain a bike since all you'll need is a membership. The central concept behind the program is to provide affordable access to bikes for short-distance trips in urban areas like our downtown, offering an alternative to motorized transit. Ben's vision is now a reality, with SLC Green Bike set to launch with 10 stations and 120 bikes in the downtown area in Spring 2013. However, biking is much more than a job for Ben. When I asked him why he liked to bike, Ben said, "it wasn't until I started biking that I truly got to know my city. You move slower on a bike. There isn't some metal bubble separating you from your community." For Ben, biking is healthy, fun way to get around town and a passion that he loves to share in both his professional and personal life. 

SaltCycle

Tom Millar is another Salt Laker who has dedicated his professional and personal life to cycling. A University of Utah graduate student and SLC Transportation Division employee, Tom works on a variety of bike-centered projects for SLC In his spare time, Tom acts as one of the leaders of SaltCycle. SaltCycle is a community of local residents who love bikes and promoting and reporting progress on urban cycling in our city. SaltCycle provides information about new infrastructure, events, and resources, as well as a place for all to express their cycle related views and desires. When I asked Tom why he joined SaltCycle, he said "I loved biking for exercise and wanted to be part of something that gives people culture, community, and a way to contribute to our city." For Tom and many other SaltCycle members, cycling is something they do for both themselves and their community. For more information, check out saltcycle.org and get involved in this excellent resource dedicated to our cycling community. The Salt Cycle CrewThe SaltCycle Crew. Interested in getting involved on the team? Check the website.

Ben and Tom's passion for biking is not unique, albeit hard to match! The best part is you don't have to match them. Want to get involved? That answer is simple. Start biking. If you already commute or occasionally ride, share your love for biking with others and tell them why you like it. Our bike community is growing and our city listens, constantly working to improve biking experiences for all skill levels.

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1# From User:Ben Bolte Time:26-10-2012 22:54:53
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