After commuting by car, alone, for 11 years, Sue Miner decided Friday to give bicycling a try.
“Except for managing Pines Road at rush hour, I had a great time,” said Miner, a Washington Water Power administrative assistant.
She was one of about 1,000 Spokane County bicyclists who cast off their four-wheel crutches to ride high and healthy during the annual Bike to Work Day, according to organizers.
For Miner and others, it was a good experience. For some bikers, it was just another day dodging cars and avoiding potholes.
Bike to Work Day is part of the county’s effort to discourage workers from relying on cars to get to and from work.
Across the county, more than 45 businesses arranged treats, snacks and prizes for people who rode to work by bike.
Sacred Heart Medical Center, for instance, had free coffee, donuts, juice and tire repair kits for about 30 morning bike riders.
At WWP, Miner was among 30 workers who pedaled instead of drove to work.
She rode 13 miles to work from the Spokane Valley on a bike her husband, Jeff, bought earlier this year.
Normally she runs 20 miles a week to stay in shape, but she hasn’t been able to maintain that schedule over the past month.
“I decided the ride would let me get some conditioning. It turned out so good, I’m going to ask my husband for my own bike,” she said.
Planning rides later in the day, more people than usual took their bicycles aboard Spokane Transit Authority buses, said development director Charles Davis.
Based on reports from STA drivers, more people attached their bikes to racks on the outside of buses on their way to work Friday morning, Davis said.
Despite extra riders on the streets, Spokane police reported no bicyclerelated traffic accidents.
Some riders said the idea of riding bikes to work should be encouraged more often.
“It’s great to push people to ride,” said Carolyn Addison, a secretary for a Spokane Valley car dealership. “But it should be made important all year long. Give people those incentives more often.”
This year was the first time companies in Spokane County offered rewards to employees who rode bikes to work.
The first two years, bikers were invited to Riverfront Park to get snacks or join group rides, said Melanie Rose, Spokane County’s trip reduction coordinator.
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