Denver’s Bike to Work Day is Wednesday — and it’s a chance for many Denverites to try something new

“Bike to work day gives people the confidence to fumble your way through it, and if you like it, you can try it again.”

A protected bike lane on 14th Street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A protected bike lane on 14th Street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Allan Tellis. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Last year’s Bike to Work Day saw over 30,000 people commute to their workplaces on two wheels and with city’s high priority on car-alternative forms of mobility, we could see even more at this year’s event, which happens on Wednesday, according to Bike Denver.

Due to an influx of people and a renewed emphasis on density closer to the city center, Denver’s placed a higher emphasis on easing traffic and supporting multi-modal transportation. That gives Bike Denver executive director James Waddell hope as he feels that giving people a sense of familiarity with other modes of transportation with events like Bike to Work Day encourages people to give them a try.

“Bike to work day gives people the confidence to fumble your way through it, and if you like  it, you can try it again,” he said.

He thinks it’s crucial to get Denver’s biking culture to a point where thinking of biking to work no longer invokes images of people clipped into racing bikes with skin-tight spandex and instead conjures up images of ordinary people simply trying to get from point A to point B.

“In some cases, bicyclists don’t help themselves, acting as if they’re competing in the Olympics to get to work,” he said.

He doesn’t expect immediate conversion to alternative modes of transportation from those that commute by car every day, but believes days like Wednesday can give people the opportunity to change their habits.

“There are 12,000 people that drive from a five-mile radius from the center city into the city. You’ve created this habit of driving your car,” he said. He feels that distances like that are extremely bikeable and would be happy if people that drive daily tried biking maybe once a week.

While that doesn’t feel like a huge feat, he feels that changing your mode of transportation by 20 percent during your work week can have an enormous impact on the city’s transit situation as a whole. “If you go from five days down to four, that’s a win for me,” Waddell said.

He also acknowledged that biking is not as easy for those that live in less bikeable parts of the city and hopes that city officials will be able to implement changes in the way those areas design their streets and encompass other forms of transportation. Even in those areas, he feels that biking culture can be enhanced by teaching bike education and they are working on a program where experienced riders can take novices bikers on their first rides and show them the principles of safe biking.

Bike to Work Day also comes equipped with a ton of sponsored activities at different “stations” throughout the city who provide things like water or even breakfast. And of course your favorite biking news crew, Denverite, is having a free afternoon street party to celebrate using two wheels to get around instead of four.