Bicyclists take advantage of free safety check, bike tuneup

City, Destination Downtown promote commuting by bike

By Dameon Pesanti, Columbian staff writer

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Although the weather wasn’t as nice as during the first half of the week, several people rolled in to get their bike’s cables tightened, chains cleaned and brakes adjusted Thursday at Vancouver City Hall.

In honor of National Bike Month, Destination Downtown and the Commute Trip Reduction Program co-hosted an event designed to give downtown’s pedal-powered commuters a free safety check and a light tuneup.

“The purpose was to reward bicyclists and ensure they’re riding safely and to also encourage others to ride,” said the city of Vancouver’s Jan Bowers, who coordinates the trip reduction program.

The plan was to have a workspace set up outside City Hall where people could drop by for repairs, but the stormy weather sent Left Coast Bicycles’ owner Aaron Michalson and his mobile tuning station to a meeting room inside.

People who commute downtown by bike were the event’s main targets, but anyone who dropped by with a bike was welcomed, said Derek Hofbauer, Destination Downtown’s outreach coordinator.

“It’s bike month — that’s our main reason for getting people prepped to ride in to work or start commutting more by bike,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to reduce drive-alone trips into downtown, and this helps us achieve our goal.”

Destination Downtown wants downtown employees to find other ways to get to work besides driving. That will free up parking spaces for customers who are shopping and dining in the city’s urban core. Plus, biking or taking public transportation is better for the environment, and they can get people exercising.

“This is part of the city of Vancouver’s efforts to make sure people are aware there are other options to get to and from work besides driving alone,” Hofbauer said. “We have a good transit system and bike lanes and bike infrastructure.”