Busy Mann has 6 bicycles
Westsider joins in Bike Week events as participant and volunteer
by April Tooke

       According to a 2002 Department of Transportation survey, 69 percent of Colorado households own at least one bicycle. Mark Mann has six in his garage-including a 1978 Raleigh Grand Prix.
       “I can't remember a time when I didn't have a bike,” said Mann, who rides three to four evenings a week and takes longer jaunts of 30 to 50 miles on weekends. A member of the Colorado Springs Cycling Club, the 45-year-old Westsider enjoys his neighborhood's close proximity to good bicycling.
       “My favorite trail has to be through the Garden (of the Gods),” said Mann, “but I love Gold Camp Road and just a ride exploring the area behind the Broadmoor Hotel. Seems like I'm close to everything I most enjoy.”
        In El Paso County, there are about 160 miles of urban trails, relatively level pathways (both paved and unpaved) that offer an alternative to road riding and, in some cases, carry bike commuters to their jobs.
        Not Mann, however. A biologist at Peterson Air Force Base, Mann does not consider his bike a viable option for the 16-mile round trip. “The urban trails system here is great, but it doesn't fully connect, especially on the city's extremities, like all the way east to Pete,” he said. “Cycling to work just isn't an option for me.”
       A native of Tennessee, Mann has cycled all over the country as well as Europe. “I wish that the U.S was where they are abroad in terms of being bicycling-friendly,” Mann said, recalling his time in Germany from 1998 to 2001. “The culture in Europe is just more acclimated to accepting, sharing the road and seeing bikes as real transportation.”
        Mann is doing his part for a bicycle-friendly Colorado Springs by volunteering and participating in the three upcoming Bike Week events: the June 19 Starlight Spectacular, the June 24 Breakfast & Bike-to-Work Day and the June 26 Bike & Trails Festival. “These events rely on volunteers and I'm happy to help out,” he added.
        A continuing challenge for him is which bike to ride. “I bought the Raleigh when I was a sophomore in college and it's been everyplace with me,” he said. I've got newer bikes and bikes that cater to one surface or another, but I keep the Raleigh functioning because it holds a special place in my heart.”

April Tooke is a local free-lance writer who is volunteering during Bike Week.