At San Juan Brews on July 15, people lined up to receive cash-filled envelopes. But it wasn’t payday: the cheerful people walking away with some extra dough earned their money by biking to work.
The Montrose Area Bicycle Alliance (MABA) sponsored Bucks for Biking throughout the month of June, which offered people $2 per day for commuting to work on a bicycle. MABA shelled out $1,800 to commuting cyclists and local employers made matching payments totaling $1,000.
Over the course of the month, 900 car trips were avoided.
”It was really impressive to see the number of over 900 cars not on the street for the month from these citizens that opted to bike to work,” Jeff Rice, a member of MABA, said. “I hear a lot of drivers that complain about the traffic here in Montrose but these bikers chose to be a part of the solution, all while making some money from the program, enjoying our wonderful outdoors and opting for a healthier lifestyle.”
Jolene Hartman biked 168 cumulative miles on her commutes, which won her an award of $50 Montrose Bucks for the most miles traveled in the female category.
“For a couple years, I was saying I was going to try to ride my bike to work and I just couldn’t get motivated to do it,” Hartman said. “And then this came about and I was like, I can make some cash. I’m gonna ride my bike to work.”
Hartman enjoyed passing deer and taking in the sunrise on her bike rides into work from the southern edge of town so much that she is going to continue riding her bicycle to work after the program has ended.
Felipe Magallanes also participated in the program. In addition to riding to work, he also rides his bike on errands around town.
“Montrose is so small, Magallanes said. “You can get from one end of town to the other in like 15 minutes.”
While most American cities have been designed for car-based transportation, Magallanes has optimized his route to bypass the busiest roads in town.
Councilor Anthony Russo works from home, so he couldn’t participate in the program. Still, he came out to San Juan Brews to show support for MABA.
Russo noted that the city has made bike trails more accessible over the past few years and highlighted that multi-modal transit is a priority in the city’s 2040 comprehensive plan.
“Motivating people to [bike to work] also motivates us to continue to work and continue to strive to make it better for all of us,” Russo said.
Anna Lynn Winfrey is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press.