Tempe Ranks High For Bike Commuters

By Alexandra Olgin
Published: Monday, May 12, 2014 - 4:35pm
Updated: Thursday, May 15, 2014 - 2:43pm
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Alexandra Olgin KJZZ News
Bike Cellar mechanic Nathan Leach repairs the wheel of a bike.

According to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than four percent of workers in Tempe bike to the office. The study showed bicycle commuting is highest in the West, and in college towns. Tempe ranked 7th-highest for bike commuting in medium-sized cities. ASU economics professor Eddie Schlee is among them. He is a member of the Bike Cellar, a pitstop where bicycle commuters connect to other public transportation, and can clean up with a shower before work. 

“I bike along the Grand Canal into Sky Harbor Airport, Washington Street and then take that into Tempe. Park my bike here, shower and then walk to my office,” said Schlee, who bikes 20 miles roundtrip.

Bike Cellar mechanic Nathan Leach attributes the high rate of bike commuters to the size of the city, good weather and the university. “Our motivation is to not just serve the people who can afford it but we want to be able to get access for everybody that wants to commute. Because there is a large population of working poor that really rely on a bike to get to and from work," said Leach.

He said the shop busiest during rush hour mornings, but slows down in the summer. Among large cities, Portland has the highest rate of bicycle commuters at 6.1 percent, according to the Census report. Nationally, the percentage of men that bike to work is more than double that of women.   

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