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Foothills staff take Bike to Work Day seriously

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By Tayler Shaw
For the Courier

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Foothills Park & Recreation District staff members took part in their own version of Bike to Work Day at Clement Park on June 27.

Employees gathered to eat breakfast burritos and have a staff meeting, where they celebrated the district’s successes such as this summer’s Unicorn Festival and Red, White & You. Afterwards, they got on their bikes for an 8-mile ride around the district, traveling on Foothills trails, before then riding to work.

“(It’s) great to give employees an opportunity to get out and live (our) mission,” said Foothills executive director Ron Hopp, referring to the district’s mission of creating community, enhancing health and inspiring play. “(It’s) nice to be part of an organization where healthy lifestyles are important.”

Bike to Work Day, which started in 1956, is a nationwide effort to encourage people to try getting to work by bike as a healthy and safe alternative to driving cars. In the metro Denver area, the Denver Regional Council of Governments estimates that more than 35,000 people traveled nearly 625,000 miles on June 27, according to the DRCOG website.

One of Foothills’ more experienced bicyclists was Tami Adams-Schlieman, the district’s fitness supervisor, who regularly bikes about 45 minutes to Foothills from Conifer. She isn’t alone when biking to work, because she typically bikes on the Bear Creek Trail alongside her assistant and the district’s fitness specialist, who live nearby. 

“I always go on trails,” Adams-Schlieman said. “Foothills has an amazing trail system with bikes, so you don’t have to be on the street competing with the cars, which makes it a little safer in my mind.”

Adams-Schlieman wanted to participate in the staff event because it highlighted aspects of the Foothills district, such as the Splash Park at Clement Park, all while promoting fitness.

“It really just emphasizes health for both the environment and the individual,” said Adams-Schlieman. “People don’t realize how positive a thing it is just to be out moving and how it changes everything for you, perspective-wise. It’s a good thing.”

Kelly Carlson, who works in the irrigation and truck management department, also wanted to participate in the event because of its emphasis on health and community. He was excited to get to ride with friends and co-workers, joking “Hope we don’t melt in the heat.”

Carlson said the event “brings everyone together as a community,” remarking that it’s simply a “good way to get together.”

The benefit of this event, according to Hopp, is that it allows district employees the chance to connect at the same location, encouraging their work community.

Although community can be defined in many ways, said Hopp, today it meant people joining together for the common goal to “recreate together and enjoy the day and talk about some great things happening around the district.”