Tahoe and Truckee build up bicycling | SierraSun.com

Tahoe and Truckee build up bicycling

The interest in the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s “Bike to Work” week has nearly doubled in its second year, organizers say.

Beginning Monday, over 200 people have pledged to bike to their jobs in the Tahoe Basin. One of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s goals is to reduce the miles drive by motorists in the basin and the “Lake Tahoe Bike to Work Challenge” is one way to inspire motorists to become cyclists.

In the last five years, miles traveled by motorists has dipped slightly, according to TRPA calculations.

A group of North Tahoe Public Utility District employees are among the nine groups that will head to work on their bikes next week.

“Last year this event got some people on their bikes that hadn’t been on their bikes in years,” said Pam Lefrancois, who bikes from Kings Beach to her North Tahoe Public Utility job as often as possible in the summer and participated in last year’s “Bike to Work” week.

Lefrancois said she is looking forward to the bike lanes and sidewalks planned for downtown Kings Beach which should make cycling to work even easier in the future.

Making the switch from cars to bikes is easier than some might suspect, according to Karen Fink, transportation planner for TRPA.

“It’s actually not that hard,” Fink said. “Everyone’s so used to driving their car, sometimes they don’t consider the other options. It’s a beautiful place ” people should be riding their bikes.”

So far 17 teams from the South Shore and nine from the North Shore have signed up to compete in Bike to Work Week.

David Jinkens, South Lake Tahoe city manager, said he is not a competitive person, but he’ll be making an exception next week.

“We want to beat the other agencies,” said Jinkens. “It’s going to be fun.”

The city of South Lake Tahoe’s bicyclists have their work cut out for them against basin heavyweights like the U.S. Forest Service and the TRPA, who placed first and second, respectively, in the “Most Miles Ridden” category in 2006.

Last year’s third-place finisher in the same category, the California Tahoe Conservancy, is looking to be the dark horse this year, after a change in strategy over the off-season.

“We have a couple of people who actually live on the North Shore,” said Tom Schafer, a computer technician at the conservancy. “We’re trying to talk them into riding all the way from the North Shore and back.”

Awards will be given in several categories and prize drawings will be held for all those participating in the week’s events. Solo riders and teams can sign up for Bike to Work Week at http://www.trpa.org/transportation/bike_to_work_week.htm.

Updated scores from the top teams participating in “Bike to Work Week” will be posted in the Tahoe Daily Tribune beginning on Tuesday, and continuing throughout the week.

“Sun News Service reporter Adam Jensen contributed to this article

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