First Annual Bike Fest promotes car-free, healthy lifestyle

The University of Colorado Boulder Environmental Center and Bike Program held its first annual Bike Fest Tuesday afternoon on Farrand Field. The event featured vendors such as bike shops, bike manufacturers and local restaurants. It also included a used bike sale in the evening.

From 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. students enjoyed free food and music while visiting booths that promoted biking as a healthy lifestyle choice. Vendors such as Full Cycle, Boulder Cycle Sport, Roxie’s Tacos, REI and Performance Bicycle were present throughout the afternoon.

Around 4 p.m., a long line of students formed through the middle of the field, leading to where the used bike sale would begin later that evening. Many of them came in hopes of purchasing a bike for roughly $100, a much cheaper alternative to the pricey bike shops around town.

“It is so much more helpful to have a bike instead of having to rely on a car,” said Dylan Zamora, a sophomore and environmental biology major.

Other students and vendors repeated this carless lifestyle mantra throughout the day.

“Traffic around here has gotten so much worse lately,” said Sherri O’Hara, a worker at the Small Planet E Bikes booth. This booth featured electric assist bicycles, equipped with an electric motor to help riders pedal up steep hills or ride long distances. According to O’Hara, these bikes are “wildly popular around the world right now.”

With the bikes allowing riders to reach speeds of up to 20-28mph, it’s easy to see why. Still, O’Hara emphasized that the bikes are “not for lazy cyclists.” They are meant to assist those who might have a longer commute to work or school.

“It is important to remember that these are not bike alternatives, they’re car alternatives,” she said.

In an effort to decrease traffic and greenhouse gas emissions caused by cars, Boulder County currently sponsors the Discount Electric Bike Purchase Program, which allows cyclists to purchase electric assist bikes like O’Hara’s with a 10 to 25 percent discount.

Another popular booth was the Environmental Center’s free T-shirt stand, which allowed students to choose from several designs and colors to create a custom-made screen-printed T-shirt.

Although Farrand Field was packed with bikes of all shapes and sizes, the most unique of them all was a bike-meets-trailer contraption created by Michigan native Michael John Saari, who goes by the nickname Michael-On-A-Cycle.

Saari learned about Bike Fest on Facebook and decided to bring his special bike to share with the crowd. His ride not only serves as a car substitute, but also doubles as his home. Several years ago, he pedaled from his hometown of Wakefield, MI to Boulder, CO.

The bike is comprised of a seat up front where Michael steers and a trailer connected in the back that holds all of his gear. It also includes a horn, flashing lights, GoPro camera, solar panels, electric motor and other special features.

“The whole point of a bike is that it’s free momentum,” Michael said. “With this I can go anywhere.”

The day ended with music from a DJ and a screening of the “Filmed by Bike” film series from Portland, Oregon.


Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Eliza Radeka at

Lucy Haggard

Lucy Haggard is in her third year at CU Boulder, born and raised in Colorado. She was the Editor-In-Chief during Fall 2018, working primarily on coverage of Title IX at CU. She helps the CUI cover campus and the local community in the most aesthetically and audibly pleasing ways possible. When not on assignment, she's probably dancing way too early in the morning.

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