The Blog

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Preparations for our visit to Durango, CO

Calling on regions along our route has been an exciting and educational part of The Green Riders’ journey.  In Durango, I chose to contact the City Manager since their website promotes the Green efforts that Durango is making.  During my second conversation with Greg Caton we started digging down into the options that Durango offers for our visit.

Durango actually has a “Multi-Modal Transportation” department!  The goal of this department is to encourage both public transportation and alternative forms of getting around.  I had heard that Durango is a great biking town and that is one of the reasons we chose to go through there.  As I dug in deeper, I learned that Durango attracts some of the top bicycle athletes due to its year round access to great riding.  Durango also attracts lots of visitors with may town sponsored rides, excellent and extensive bike trails for both off road and street bikes and a  friendly village like downtown.

So back to my conversation with assistant city manger Greg.  Because of Durango’s interest in alternative forms of transportation, Greg is interested if featuring The Green Riders as part of  an event where public transportation and non fossil fuel based modes of transport will be on display.  There are bicycle shops and an electric vehicle shop that may participate.  There’s a biodiesel plant nearby that may also participate.
Durango itself has a free trolley that runs through downtown as well as a very extensive and well subscribed public transportation system.  Adding electric bikes to the mix is something that will work well for Durango.

Another option we talked about was to have a forum discussion with local residents about how to integrate electric bicycles into the town’s network of bicycle trails.  This is a discussion that is going on all across the country since electric bicycles create a new challenge for bike trails.  I look forward to discussing the pros and cons of electric bicycles on the trails.  The Green Riders obviously are in favor of allowing electric bicycles onto trails but Greg mentioned that a few years back in Durango someone rode a gas powered motorcycle on a bike trail and almost caused a fatality!!  This kind of experience makes local bike riders suspicious about letting anything with a motor on the trails.  The Green Riders and others note that legal electric bicycles can only go 20 mph under motor power.  This is slower than many pure pedal power riders can ride.  They are also quiet and don’t pollute.  Maybe making a warning bell standard equipment would be a way to gain support?

Finally, I mentioned to Greg that we want to try to charge our batteries at locations that generate electricity with renewables.  In most  areas, that will be a building with solar panels and Greg mentioned we might be able to work something out with local restaurants that have solar panels on their roofs.  What fun!!

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