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Alternative commuters celebrate end of Bike/Walk to Work Week
Seacoast-area bicyclists work up an appetite for Friday's breakfasts, marking the conclusion of this year's Bike/Walk to Work Week in New Hampshire. (GRETYL MACALASTER/Union Leader Correspondent)
About 100 alternative commuters attended Grill 28's inaugural breakfast at Pease International Tradeport early in the morning before splitting off to their respective jobs for the day.
Josh Pierce, president of Seacoast Area Bicycle Routes, is happy to see Bike/Walk to Work Week participation growing, as it means more commuters are using their bikes instead of their vehicles to get to work, at least for one day each year. A national Bike to Work Week effort started about 50 years ago.
SABR started the state Bike to Work week event 11 years ago with the Rockingham Planning Commission and the Strafford Regional Planning Commission, and it has spread to other communities, including Manchester, Keene and Concord, through Commute Green New Hampshire. Commute Green encourages commuters to choose an alternative to driving alone at least one day a week, whether biking, walking, taking the bus or carpooling.
Bike path improvements are coming with the opening of the new Memorial Bridge between Kittery, Maine, and Portsmouth this summer. Bike paths will be improved with the widening of shoulders on Route 108 between Durham and Newfields and plans for a multi-use path project at Pease that Scott Bogle, senior planning director with Rockingham Planning Commission, said will help cyclists navigate the tricky entrance of the Tradeport from Route 33.
"In trying to promote biking to work, we are not suggesting somebody needs to be hard core about it and go out rain, snow, ice. We want people to give it a try," Bogle said. "By having the event, we give people a chance to give it a try, find out if they like it, have fun, exercise, save money and then maybe do it again."
A celebration event was held Friday evening at the Portsmouth Brewery, and handmade trophies featuring various bicycle gears were presented to businesses of various sizes in the Corporate Commuter Challenge, for having the most employees participate in Bike/Walk to Work Week.
Bogle said he hopes not only that next year's event is an even bigger success, but that more people on a regular basis consider alternative commuting as they head into work in the coming summer days.
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