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E-M:/ MMEAC offers bike commuting lessons

Biking to work = exhilaration, $avings, healthy planet!

Back by popular demand, the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council is offering free bicycle commuting lessons, starting this week, as part of the Smart Commute '07 program.

Four classes are scheduled: Thursday, May 3 at LCC; May 5 &6 at Foster Community Center; and May 12 at MSU. All classes cover topics such as the bicycle, the route, safe riding techniques, how to carry cargo, business attire/clothing decisions, gear, and more. The weekend classes also include an outdoor practice session. The classes are free and open to the public. Get more info and register online at www.midmeac.org or call 214-5684 for more info.

One of last year's attendees reported: "The class was a real eye-opener. It will change my life because I realize now how feasible it is to get around on the bike."

The classes are a warm-up for the great bicycle commuting weather, and for the Smart Commute '07 Challenge, which starts May 14 and runs through May 25. The Challenge kicks off on Monday, May 14 with a Smart Commute Festival in front of Lansing City Hall from 11:30 am until 1:30 pm. The festival includes music, food, informational booths, and a free t-shirt for people signing up for the Challenge.

The Smart Commute '07 Challenge encourages companies, departments, and other groups to register by size, and track the number of smart commuting employees each day. Smart Commuting includes walking, bicycling, carpooling, taking the bus, vanpooling, or telecommuting. At the end of the two weeks, organizers will calculate the cumulative percentage of smart commuters for each company, and the top companies in each size category will win company bicycles, gift certificates, and more. Register to compete and get your score card at www.midmeac.org.

One of last year's competitors commented, "The program made me aware of many more benefits than I realized for telecommuting. I knew it would save energy but had not thought about wer and tear on the roads, the time savings of the commute itself, and other things. I love telecommuting one day each week. Even a small amount helps when several people are doing it."