Jefferson chamber hears about 'Bikenomics'

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND­ — Increasing the use of bicycles as a primary form of transportation could enhance the local economy, according to information presented at the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce on Monday

“We called this presentation 'Bikenomics' and first thought we would have a part that said why cycling 'makes cents,'” said Chauncey Tudhope-Locklear, manager of ReCyclery Port Townsend.

“But it doesn't just make cents,” he said.

“It literally makes millions.”

Tudhope-Locklear noted that if half of Jefferson County's car owners converted to riding bicycles instead, it would generate $67 million that would stay in the local economy.

Part of this would reflect a change in shopping habits, since people who ride bikes tend to shop in their own neighborhoods.

The average annual cost of operating a car — taxes, tag, repairs, gas, maintenance — is $8,485, he said — $7,095 in funds leaving the local economy and $1,390 staying put. A good bike, in comparison, costs $450 a year, with $270 remaining in the local economy, he said.

In Tudhope-Locklear's perfect world, everyone would ride bicycles, but he would be satisfied with less.

“If everyone would ride a bike once a week for recreation or transportation it would make a huge difference,” he said.

Tudhope-Locklear said that bikes also incorporate a health benefit and would curb the current trend toward obesity.

In the 1960s, more than half of kids rode their bikes or walked to school and at that time the rate of obesity was around 8 percent,” he said.

“Today, about one in three kids is obese or overweight.

“You can see that it was all about the bike.”

Tudhope-Locklear said that about 11 percent of Port Townsend children ride their bikes or walk to school, but he'd like to establish programs that would raise that average.

Which leads to the ReCyclery, a nonprofit organization that recently moved into its location at the corner of Blaine Street and Kearney Street after operating out of a small Uptown space.

While the business took possession of a concrete slab, it built a shelter and office with volunteer labor and materials, resulting in a $40,000 building that took only $16,000 to construct, he said.

The land is leased by the city for what Tudhope-Locklear calls “a really good price” which takes into account the Recyclery's programs.

This includes a bike repair clinic where people can come in and learn how to fix their bike at no cost — as long as they do the work.

Tudhope-Locklear is optimistic about the ReCyclery's potential, saying it could change the culture of transportation in Port Townsend.

To celebrate its grand opening, the ReCyclery is hosting a Halloween Harvest Party from 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday.

It begins with a cider pressing and will be followed by games, a ribbon cutting, a barbecue and a pot luck dinner.

For more information about the event or the ReCyclery go to www.recyclery.org or call (360) 643-1755.



Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 23. 2012 6:02PM
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