Ames cyclists breakfast during Bike to Work Week

By Haifan Xiao, [email protected]
A cyclist picked up the food and drink.

Haifan Xiao

Monday’s breakfast in front of Ames City Hall kicks off the whole week festivities for Bike to Work Week. Various breakfast foods were set up along three long tables, and several other tables were set up for everyone sit and chat. Pamphlets and maps were also offered to inform people about bicycling laws and Ames bicycling routes.

People rode bikes from different places either individually, accompanied by coworkers or with their family members. City council members and the vice president of Ames Bicycle Coalition were also present to talk with Ames residents. 

 “This is the third year we hold this activity. First year was rainy and cold, we ended up moving inside the building,” said Susan Gwiasda, public relations officer, as she introduced the event. “Last year was a nice day, not quite as nice as today, we probably get thirty to forty people. This year we got at least fifty.” 

“For the city council, it’s important to talk to bicyclists and the community to understand their concerns, like where might be gaps, and safety concerns,” Gwiasda said.

Peter Orazem, city council member, said that commuting biking and recreation biking are different, but improvements of both are important. “Hopefully, we will be continuing making progress on that,” Orazem said.

Steve Libbey, vice president of Ames Bicycle Coalition, started his riding in the mid-’90s. He said that improvement of infrastructure makes both bicycling and driving safer, and that it is important to connect bicycle lanes to make Ames a better place to ride for daily transportation.

“I ride my bike because it’s better for the environment, it saves money, and it’s a good exercise,” said Amy Mayer, reporter at Iowa Public Radio.

Nancy Franz and Bill Gahnz were a couple riding from Northeast Ames and also attended the breakfast last year. Nancy is the member of Ames Bicycle Coalition, and said that she is happy to see fellow cyclists during the event. She said the breakfast was a good opportunity to talk to city council members about bicycling issues, such as reporting bad roads for bicycles.

Jeri Neal, who used to work for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, said that she rides her bike almost everyday, even during the winter. “I always think ‘how I can do things by bicycle?'” said Neal.