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Car-less Commuting: 10,000 miles of Driving Saved With Bike to Work Week

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Kathryn Eutsler/KSMU
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Today marks the official start of National Bike to Work Week 2015, and Ozark Greenways is encouraging those in our community to participate. KSMU’s Kathryn Eutsler has more.

“In the past, we’ve tallied 10,000 miles of driving saved that week.”

That’s Lori Tack, program coordinator for Ozark Greenways. She says Bike to Work Week is simply about getting to school or work without using a car. But if you’re not planning to pedal?

“There’s walking, and the city bus, and some other options,” says Tack.

In past years, 1,500 individuals have participated, and this year over 200 businesses and schools are registered to take the challenge. Businesses and schools with the most participation will receive trophies. 

“I enjoy every year seeing the excitement that several businesses who do it every year. They just love to compete with each other.”

And that enthusiasm has increased, Tack says, since the inclusion of prizes and benefits.

First, there’s the food. Anyone who participates will receive a voucher for a free bagel and coffee or cookie from Panera Bread.

And, those who board the city bus with a bike this week can ride for free. Also, there’s free shower use this week at all Cox Fitness Centers, and other various random prizes throughout the week.

Tack says it’s also exciting to see people realize how bike friendly Springfield really is.

“It’s flat, it has a grid system, we have these great routes going through town.”

Others who don’t bike get creative about cutting the car from their commute.

“It gets people outside of their normal routine. A lot of times people say ‘Oh I can’t do that,’ but when they actually look at their commute between work and school and work and home, there really are more options than we realize.”

Taking advantage of those options, Tack says, leads to incredible benefits.

“That translates to a huge savings for individuals, but it also reduces so much pollution in just one week, you know a thousand people doing this, it makes a big input for the cause.”

At the end of the week, Tack says she hopes people will realize that commuting without a car can be easy and enjoyable.

“That’s our main goal, to highlight the options we have and get people out there to try them. We’ve converted some people.”

To further promote car-less commuting beyond Bike to Work Week, Ozark Greenways is offering free Bicycle Commuting 101 workshops this summer.

It’s not too late to register you, your business, your school, or your organization for Bike to Work Week 2015. To register, email lori@ozarkgreenways.org or call (417) 864-2015.

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