Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains, residents of the Roaring Fork Valley are particularly in tune with the drastic effects carbon-fueled transportation has on the earth. As a physically active region of the country, the Roaring Fork Valley prides itself its easy accessibility to biking paths, hiking trails, ski runs and bodies of water for swimming, rafting and paddleboarding. The ideal climate during all seasons makes walking and biking to work the standard. For these reasons, most commuters either opt for public transportation or their personal bikes to travel into town each day. But how can we make environmentally-conscious transportation even easier on our residents? Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty’s sponsorship of the WE-cycle Ride Share Program is here to save the day.
Ernie F., a part-owner of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Real Estate and longtime Aspen community member, described WE-cycle as the perfect transportation solution for a location like the Roaring Fork Valley. The concept of bike sharing in a smaller location came about after witnessing how effective it was in several larger cities and towns. “Aspen has a vehicle congestion and parking problem, so bikes are a logical solution,” Ernie said.
WE-cycle director Mirte Mallory agreed, mentioning how ride share programs “thrive in communities with commercial, activity, and residential centers that are connected with relatively flat and safe bike routes. Aspen’s significant and well-defined bike lanes and routes indicate that bikes are welcome and encouraged. These clear definitions and delineations build confidence in riding.” Road safety and general sanitation are key principles to Mirte and her team. WE-cycle places a massive emphasis on rider safety. “Our riders' health and safety are WE-cycle’s top priority. We are taking extra precautions and steps to keep the bikes and high touch surfaces clean as well as following best practices with our staff procedures. Please join us in following public health guidelines.”
Though COVID-19 is a topic we’d all like to hear and speak about less frequently, it’s important to consider how WE-cycle recognizes and addresses issues related to it. “COVID-19 has forced all of us to change our behaviors and adapt in new and unexpected ways. We’re discovering new ways to enjoy the outdoors and often spending more time outdoors,” Mirte continued. “Bike share is a great way to alternate how you get around town, and is a socially distanced, outdoor and healthy mode of travel.”
Ernie identified another positive byproduct of WE-cycle’s existence: “For commuting to work, joy riding or hopping from place to place, this is a great solution. Imagine 50% fewer cars in town, and 50% of transportation occurring on bikes! Fantastic!” Locals are notoriously disturbed by personal vehicle use in the small towns of the Roaring Fork Valley, where resources are in close, walkable proximity. The use of this ride share program offers free, convenient access to those who do not truly need to be operating a vehicle.
Mirte concurred, mentioning the included convenience of operating on your own schedule, “From a local and commuter perspective, WE-cycle provides a fast, efficient, and often the most direct route from where one is to where one wants to be. It complements the bus routes and can be used on one’s own time, one’s own schedule, and one’s own route.”
Given the frequent tourism in the Roaring Fork Valley, Mirte believes this program will support this crowd as well. “The program gives visitors a genuine taste of a local’s experience. We hear from riders that they have seen a similar program in their city or in places they have visited and been intrigued to use it, but hesitant given the traffic. Aspen offers a calmer environment to try riding a bike for travel rather than purely recreational purposes.”
While traffic and the lack of parking are certainly an annoyance that this program can help reduce, the true mission of WE-cycle is to assist in alleviating the environmental impact of carbon-fueled transportation. “Wasteful, short trips in and out of town, fumes, and pollution are reasons this program is so vital to the Roaring Fork community,” Ernie said. “Once people start using bikes, they get hooked, and it becomes a mainstay for short distance transportation.” Mirte insightfully offered that “often, people discover a freedom and independence in getting around town by bike and using bike share in Aspen becomes a catalyst for using similar resources or even riding a bike more frequently, when they return home.” This reduces the environmental impact of carbon-fueled transportation in the cities where WE-cycle is provided, as well as in the hometowns of visitors.
WE-cycle offers traditional, pedal-powered bikes, as well as a new addition of electric powered e-bikes. Whether you’re seeking a good old-fashioned, calorie-burning ride or some technologically-engineered assistance in the altitude, WE-cycle has you covered. Ernie had some insights regarding the new addition of e-bikes: “biking in the Roaring Fork Valley is seeing a huge increase recently in part due to e-bikes.” Residents and visitors are more apt to use a WE-cycle bike now since they have options in their form of transportation. “Locals love WE-cycle for convenience, no parking fees and tremendous cost savings.” Signing up is easy and fast! Download the Transit app and create an account. “Once signed up,” says Mirte, “WE-cycle will be there for you when you need a spontaneous ride to get to a meeting, to a meal, or to squeeze in an errand. Think of WE-cycle as a bike waiting at your beck and call.
For those concerned about the competition WE-cycle could provide to the local small businesses which offer bike rentals and cycling paraphernalia, Mirte assures that “WE-cycle is designed to complement not compete with the bike rental shops. The pricing structure is designed to incentivize short in and around trips and to discourage longer recreational type rides. WE-cycle promotes the local bike shops on system maps and encourages anyone interested in extended rides to rent a bike!” .
As there are seemingly endless reasons to use this ride sharing system, Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty is incredibly proud to be the community sponsor. With the fate of our precious valley in mind, we hope everyone sees and capitalizes upon the benefit of environmental protection, cost savings, convenience and the pure joy of riding a bike! 255 WE-cycle bikes located at 49 stations are available in Aspen, Snowmass and Basalt now through the fall. Do your mental health, your physical fitness, and your planet Earth a favor -- burn carbs, not carbon!
When riding your WE-cycle bike, document your trip on social media and tag us @aspensnowmassSIR with the hashtag #BigBlueGoesGreen!
*Overtime fees for rides over 30 minutes: silver pedal bikes: $0.50/min | blue e-bikes: $5.00/min
Sign up on the app Transit or at we-cycle.org. WE-cycle is here to help you get rolling: 970.205.9222