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Bike to School Brings Out French Pastries, Wild Rye Socks and Bicycles Galore
Thursday, May 16, 2024


Bicyclists must have known the treat they were in for when they saw members of the Hailey Police Department hanging around COX Communications’ booth along the Wood River Trail Wednesday morning.

“Here, have a donut!” Police Chief Steve England shouted, holding a glazed donut out to a passing cyclist. “We’re out here to cheer on the bicyclists and make sure they get to school and work safely. But donuts, first!” he quipped, noting the longstanding relationship ascribed between police and donuts.

Hundreds of adults and children took to the bike path Wednesday morning in the Blaine County Recreation District’s annual Bike to School and Work Day.

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as early morning light began flooding the northern half of the bike path. A jogger made her way down the trail, her headlamp shining brightly despite dawn breaking. The sun hit the top of Baldy, then slid down the mountain slope onto the bike path as representatives of two dozen businesses and nonprofit organizations laid out breakfast treats, bicycle bells and other swag to reward those who had left their cars in their garages.

“The most perfect day for Bike to School ever,” said the BCRD’s Morgan Buckert, noting that the temperature was heading into the 60s.

Mary Malkmus and the Rev. Kathleen Bean blessed bikes—and dogs, too—on behalf of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church Green Team, which was started 10 years ago to address environmental issues.

“Bless this bike and keep it in good shape so it can deliver its rider up and down the valley…” intoned Bean.

“We started the Green Team to take care of God’s beautiful creation,” said Malkmus.

“Our Earth and creatures are from God, and He said they were good, so we need to take care of them,” added Bean. “We did an energy audit of the church yesterday to see what we’re doing well and where we can make improvements. We can add LED lights, we can see whether the roof lends itself to solar panels, we can see how we can more effectively manage electric coils in the sidewalk to prevent ice buildup during winter.”

Delilah Carden and Aliki Georgakopoulos provided a French patisserie atmosphere to the bike path as they offered an array of chocolate croissants and Danish pastries on behalf of the Limelight Hotel.

Carden noted how she bikes to work at St. Luke’s every day as soon as the bike path is clear.

“It’s fun to come out for this event and see all the people,” added Georgakopoulos. “I’m always amazed how we get the very young and the old—a range of ages.”

Sun Valley Resort set up brunch under an expansive tent near the River Run Lodge. Employees cheered the school-aged kids as they pulled up, serving them hot chocolate, fresh fruit and muffins as a fellow employee cooked bacon on a giant grill.

Employees from The Elephant’s Perch cooked up waffles, blueberries fitting perfectly into each square, while Paddy McIlvoy of Backwoods Mountain Sports offered pink pineapple and pumped bike tires.

“We recycled 104 bikes at the Bike Swap this weekend, keeping them out of the landfill,” he said. “Mostly what’s selling new is eBikes.”

Isabella Cronin and Malcolm Wilson offered brightly colored bicycle helmets to youngsters on behalf of the Environmental Resource Center, while Wild Rye’s Cassie Abel handed out Wild Rye socks and water bottles. Representatives of Blaine County Education Fund handed out paperback books and pencils to youngsters, while Molly Goodyear! served adults a blend of Tahoe coffee so rich it could send coffee gourmands into the stratosphere.

Jen Smith and K.O. Ogilvie served up iced donuts while pointing out that the Sawtooth Botanical Garden was just a block off the bike path.

“We’re talking about serving breakfast tacos next year so we can stay warm over the stove,” said Smith.

Larissa DeHaas kept a compost bin for food discards to add to the Ketchum Recreation Department’s educational compost pile, while Aspen Saren shared how the Y hopes to start a bike program for middle school students to get them excited about riding bikes for their health and the health of the environment.

And a representative of Big Wood School talked about the school’s efforts to get its children thinking about the environment.

“My kids are 2 and a half, so ‘environment’ is a big term for them. We start small, exploring in the garden.”

The north part of the path easily saw a couple hundred children accompanied by parents bicycling to school. BCRD Director Mark Davidson estimated at least a hundred, maybe 200, bicycles passed his stand at the southern end.

Lt. Charles Cox of the Hailey Police Department, who like all police are trained to estimate crowd size at parades, had the last word.

“I bet we’ve had a thousand bikes go by!”

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