Pedal to work; better health

— When Kirk McKey looked out to see the nice weather Wednesday morning, he couldn't come up with any reason not to ride his bike. The chiropractor said he'd been thinking about riding his bike recently and because it was Colorado Bike to Work day, he thought it would be a good day to ride.

The ride to his downtown office was downhill and took only 10 minutes, he said. The ride home for lunch however, took 20. The best reason to bike instead of drive is the health benefits, McKey said.

Advice for cyclists Bicycle Colorado, a nonprofit organization, offers the following advice for bike riders: * Bicyclists have all the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle and can be penalized for violating traffic laws. * Always wear a helmet. * Ride on the right; never ride against traffic. * Ride in the right lane, except when passing another vehicle, preparing for a left turn or avoiding hazards. * Ride on paved shoulders and bike lanes when present and free of hazards. * Ride single file except when no motor vehicle traffic is approaching within 300 feet from behind and sight distance to the front and rear is at least 300 feet. * On curving canyon roads, play it safe and ride single file. * Obey traffic laws, signs, and signals. Use hand signals to indicate left or right turns, slowing or stopping. *Use a headlight, taillight and reflectors at night. * Make eye contact with drivers. * Never assume motorists see you or that you have the right of way. * Expect the unexpected; your first responsibility is to avoid a crash.

"When you have a health crisis, what does your doctor tell you? Exercise, watch your diet -- why wait?" McKey said.

Rather than feeling more tired when he arrived at work, he said the physical activity energized him.

"I think we tend to think we're healthier than what we really are," McKey said.

His ride to work made him more aware of his physical condition, he said. And what he discovered is that he needs to exercise more.

"I'm obviously not doing enough," he said.

John Doane, manager at Flint Personnel Services, also rode his bike to work, not to mark the special day but to get in shape.

"I don't think people realize how fast you can get from point A to point B on a bike," Doane said, adding that he once beat his wife downtown from their house, he on his bike and she in a van.

Although he detects no animosity from car drivers while riding his bike, he said bikers should be careful.

"If you're on a bike, you'd better be a lot more responsible, because you're not going to make a dent in their car," Doane said, laughing.

Craig's official Bike to Work Day is Tuesday, in conjunction with the day the Great Race drivers stop in town. The public is invited to view the 120 vintage vehicles and enjoy a free pancake breakfast between 8 and 11 a.m.

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