Commuters leave cars at home |

Commuters leave cars at home

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

About a dozen Sierra-at-Tahoe employees put a different spin on their commute to work Friday, trading in their skis and boards for two wheels to wrap up California Bike Commute Week.

The primarily Lycra-clad gang — made up of roadies, mountain bikers and even Nicole Klimper braving the hills on a beach cruiser — met at the Old Meyers Grade gate that morning with a 2,500-foot elevation gain ahead of them.

The 12-mile commute led to Echo Summit on Highway 50, down to the ski resort entrance and up to their offices.

For some, Friday was like any other day.

Fit and full of energy, Director of Operations Drew Bray commutes to work on his gray Mongoose five days a week when the roads are clear from snow. He’s made a special arrangement with his wife to drop off his belongings on her way to her job from the South Shore to Placerville.

Sierra-at-Tahoe has shower facilities — an often make-or-break incentive for bike commuting. Secure parking is another.

“Tahoe’s an awesome spot for riding,” he said.

Bray loves the scenery, but he wishes motorists would be more aware of his presence and understand cyclists’ right to share the road.

Meyers resident Sean Sweeney commutes to work three to five days a week, leaving his clothes at his marketing department office, so he can travel light.

Aside from the substandard shape of many of Tahoe’s roads, gravel left after the winter storms in the bike lane makes the commute tricky at times. Ideally, a street sweep by the California Department of Transportation would rectify the problem, he said.

“I think more people would get involved if they had people to ride with, and it was safer,” Sweeney said.

At least 100 California communities participate in the nationally recognized event, which has brought out more than 15,000 cyclists each of the past two years.

“There’s a slow but steady increase. In California, there’s at least 200,000 riders on any given day,” California Bicycle Coalition spokesman Chris Morfas said from his Sacramento office.

Also in line with the fun rides that dot the Golden State on weekends, the eighth annual event attracts more riders every year.

For 2002’s event, Morfas noticed “increased involvement” from the public health community including the state’s health department, which advocates the exercise for good health.

“They have found there’s more to bike safety than wearing helmets,” Morfas said.

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