Trading in fossil fuel for pedal power | SierraSun.com

Trading in fossil fuel for pedal power

Karen McIntyre
Sierra Sun

On Saturday, 55-year-old Richard Glasson drove his 1988 Jeep Cherokee from his home in Stateline, Nev., to the New Belgium Brewing Company’s Tour de Fat festival in Truckee.

There, he handed over his car keys in exchange for a bike and pedaled it home ” the first of many future rides on his new bike.

“It’s about rediscovering the cultural thrill of public transportation,” the Tour de Fat Web site said. “It’s about weaning yourself off the petroleum teat.”

Glasson, the third of this year’s 11 Tour de Fat car/bike swap winners, said he is glad he finally met some people who are as passionate about bike riding as he and his wife are.

“We just love bicycles,” he said as he finished his peanut butter, banana and raisin sandwich on rye bread during lunch Tuesday.

The South Tahoe judge said he sent New Belgium a YouTube video and essay once he heard about the car/bike trade, which challenges people to ditch their cars for bikes and supports bicycle and environmental charities.

“It’s good, certainly for the planet,” he said. “And it’s good for the people now riding a bike.”

The brewery later notified Glasson to tell him he was chosen to receive the new bike in an excessive ceremony at the Tour de Fat.

“They embarrassed the heck out of me,” he said.

Glasson said it was easy to get rid of his car. The once-grey Jeep was mostly chipped of its paint and had driven a quarter million miles. The driver’s door didn’t open, and Glasson said he had to crawl through the window or enter from the passenger side.

“It was cancerous, that car,” he said.

He was going to trash the Jeep anyway and had sold some of its parts on eBay, so Glasson was happy to trade what was left of it for a New Belgium, fully-loaded, hand-crafted, Fort Collins-built commuter bike from Black Sheep Bikes.

“It’s a sweet bike. It has 27 gears. This thing is a work of art,” he said. “That bicycle is worth 10 times what that car was worth.”

Glasson said he is definitely going to buy a heavy-duty bike lock. In the 50-plus years he has been an avid bike rider, five of his bikes have been stolen.

“Bicycles are the most efficient method of moving humans,” he said.

Bikes are faster than walking and sometimes driving, he said. They’re fun, healthy, don’t require insurance and can be fixed by the rider.

Glasson has ridden a bike around Southeast Asia and parts of Europe, and he has not driven his car the 2.5 miles to work since May.

New Belgium challenges the car/bike trade winners to ride their new bikes twice a week. Glasson said he is going to exceed the brewery’s expectations.

“My goal is to bicycle every day for 365 days ” someway, somehow,” he said.

When the snow gets too deep to bike, Glasson said he will snowshoe or cross-country ski to work and ride a stationary bike at home.

“It’s gonna be a pleasure. It’s not gonna be a challenge,” he said. “It’s a blessing to me, and it’s a blessing to our planet.”

Glasson said he will probably buy another car someday, but it has to be a necessity, not a luxury.