Workers show wheel power

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Joe Bockerstette and Kris Baranovic parked their bikes outside of Burrito-Ville, where they work, Monday in Cape Girardeau. They both ride their bikes to work regularly and also deliver food for the restaurant. Monday was the start of Missouri's annual Bike to Work Week. (Diane L. Wilson)

At a time when bicycle enthusiasts are pushing to make Cape Girardeau more bicycle friendly, some residents already are making bicycling to work part of their daily routine.

Nationally, 10 percent of people bike or walk as their primary means of transportation, according to executive director Brent Hugh of the Missouri Bicycle Federation. In Missouri the number is less than 5 percent, although 30 percent of Missourians don't have driver's licenses.

Monday was the beginning of Missouri's annual Bike to Work Week.

Tammy Leible works at Fru-Con Construction Corp. in Cape Girardeau. She rode her bicycle 20 miles before work Monday morning in honor of Bike to Work Week. She had to work a double shift and didn't want to ride her bicycle home in the dark so she took a ride before she drove in. "I was pretending it was my ride to work," she said.

She and some of her co-workers are trying to get a shower and lockers installed to make the Highway 177 facility more accommodating for bicyclists to commute to work.

Leible lives on the corner of Themis and Sunset streets and tries to make the 15-mile bicycle ride to and from work a few times a week.

Andy Baranovic, a service technician at Cape Bicycle Cycling and Fitness on North Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau, commutes to work from just outside Carbondale, Ill. In honor of Bike to Work Week, he's going to peddle the 45-mile journey Friday. He said he'll try to leave by 6 a.m. and hopes to arrive at work at 9 a.m.

"It's a matter of principle," Baranovic said. "I like to think it's going to raise awareness. But I'm just doing my part. I do it for myself."

The Cape Girardeau County Administration Building in Jackson recently purchased a bicycle rack from Cape Bicycle Cycling and Fitness. Donna Oldham, administrative assistant in the county commission office, said three or four employees in the building who bike to work previously had to bring their bicycles into their offices or leave them in the hallway.

Tom Ertman, who works in the data processing department, was one of the employees who pushed for the rack. He said he's been riding his bicycle to and from work for a couple years and now it'll be more convenient.

"We just suffered with that for a while," he said, in reference to having to bring the bicycle inside the building. "So we finally brought up getting a rack outside."

Cape Bicycle Cycling and Fitness owner Eric Gooden said he donated a bicycle rack to the employees at Burrito-Ville on Broadway in Cape Girardeau a while ago. According to Kris Baranovic, the assistant manager at Burrito-Ville, the donation was more of a barter -- burritos were involved in the deal.

Baranovic hasn't driven a car to work all year. He and a couple of co-workers ride their bicycles to work regularly, not just during Bike to Work Week. Burrito-Ville delivers food on bicycles if the residence is within a reasonable distance, Baranovic said.

"I'm faster than a car within a good mile to a mile-and-a-half on a delivery," he said.

tkrakowiak@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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