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Chatsworth | Valley Focus

Cyclists Pedal Idea of Group Commute

May 23, 1997|CLAIRE VITUCCI

While many Valley residents stumbled for their first cup of coffee Thursday morning, two hardy souls braved the Santa Susana Pass on bikes, negotiating speeding cars and steep hills all in the name of bicycle commuting.

Thursday marked Group Commute Ride '97.

Sponsored by the 12th Council District Transportation Management Assn., the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the city of Los Angeles, the ride was held to increase awareness about bicycle commuting and get more cars off the road, said Aaron Hanson, association executive director.

The Chatsworth association, which represents more than 15,000 employees at 25 West Valley companies, offers seminars and trip-reduction planning with the goal of improving air quality through increased ride-sharing.

Hanson doesn't just preach bicycle commuting and other ways to cut pollution and reduce traffic on congested freeways, he tries to make a difference. He joined fellow Simi Valley resident John Wood, 36, on the 10-mile trek to the Chatsworth Depot.

At times both men trudged up the first leg of their trip, cycling faster, then slower at the especially steep parts. Six miles done, the two men caught up to each other, stopped and smiled.

"It never gets any easier," said Wood, a cycling veteran who regularly bikes the winding 10-mile course to work.

"It's all downhill from here," Hanson said. Hitting a top speed of 33 mph, the men cruised down to Topanga Canyon Road and over to the train station.

Hanson said that although some people may not be able to bike from their homes to work because of the distance, they could cycle to the nearest Metrolink station, board the train to the station nearest work and then bike from there.

Twenty-two people did just that on Thursday, taking the train to the Chatsworth Depot, where they grabbed muffins and fresh fruit before heading on bikes to their offices nearby.

Bruce Edwards, 41, biked one mile to the Simi Valley train station, caught the 6:55 a.m. train and stopped in for a continental breakfast at the Chatsworth Depot. He planned to ride 1.5 miles to his job at Deluxe Check Printers in Chatsworth. Feeling good, he said he would try to cycle to work once a week.

"If I get the truck off the road once a week . . . I'll save a little bit of pollution and a little bit on gas," Edwards said.

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