Many participate in Tahoe Bike Challenge |

Many participate in Tahoe Bike Challenge

Submitted to the Tribune

Submitted to the Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Through late spring snow and cold temperatures, more than 300 people around Lake Tahoe rode in the 2011 Tahoe Bike Challenge, logging more than 3,000 commuter bike or pedestrian trips and 10,000 miles of zero-emission travel.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that 1.9 pounds of CO2 is prevented by every bicycle mile traveled.

The Tahoe Bike Challenge is hosted by the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and many local businesses each year to increase ridership in the Lake Tahoe Region and to show support for improved bike and pedestrian facilities around the Lake. This year the Challenge was from May 23 through June 3.

“The commitment to alternative transportation this year’s participants showed provides crucial support to local jurisdictions, transportation agencies and land managers when they sit down to plan and prioritize projects,” Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition President Ty Polastri said.

People are surprised to learn that air pollution is linked to lake clarity, said TRPA Spokesman Jeff Cowen. Lake Tahoe has seen a dramatic increase in algae growth in the last 40 years. Studies show that 55 percent of the nitrogen feeding this alga comes from vehicle and wood stove emissions that settle into the water, Cowen said.

Reducing vehicle miles traveled reduces the pollution that enters Lake Tahoe.

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“The people who rode or walked to work, school and play through this year’s Tahoe Bike Challenge deserve our thanks for doing their part to restore Lake Tahoe and to encourage greater safety and connectivity in our communities,” Cowen said.

The results of the Challenge are available on the Tahoe Metropolitan Planning Organization statistics page at

To finish the two-week challenge, staff at TRPA dedicated the last day of the event as Car-Free Day at the TRPA office building in Stateline. All of TRPA’s staff and adjoining offices participated, resulting in an empty parking lot most of the day.