GRAND JUNCTION - Three Grand Junction residents voluntarily gave up their car keys Monday morning.For the next three weeks, Kelly Zepp, Janet Penkaty and Eric Strickholm will shun motorized travel to pedal their way to work, to school, to the store or wherever they need to go.Twenty-one people responded to a Brown Cycle contest advertised in the Grand Junction Free Press last month calling for essays about going car-less. The three winners - Zepp, Penkaty and Strickholm - were sized and fitted with new three-speed Breezer Citizen bicycles and equipment from Brown Cycle Sept. 3. The following Monday they returned to the shop, turned in their car keys and rode away on their bikes. At the end of three weeks, they'll retrieve their keys. If they successfully complete the challenge of going motorless, they'll get to keep the bicycles and equipment. They're also not allowed to travel as a passenger in a motorized vehicle.
During the week, Zepp said she typically gets around on a motorized scooter since she and her husband gave up one of their cars a year ago when they moved from Pennsylvania to Grand Junction. She said she really doesn't bike much except for a six-week bike tour through Germany she did with her husband.Strickholm, however, is an avid bicyclist.He received his first brand new bicycle in 1962, and has been riding bikes ever since, he said."It's the best way to find out about a town. You see things you wouldn't see otherwise," said Strickholm, 57. "Three weeks should be a piece of cake."
A program by the Trek Bicycle Company called "Bike Town USA" gave Brown the idea for the challenge in Grand Junction.Brown proposed his idea to Joe Breezer, owner of Breezer SimpliCity Cycle Company. Breezer makes and advocates for commuter bikes, bikes designed for riding to work."He loved this when I shot this idea to him," Brown said. Outside Brown Cycle on Monday, Penkaty's 4-year-old and 7-year-old sons clamor excitedly on and around a big yellow tandem, while Penkaty holds 7-1/2-month old Spencer.Seven-year-old Joseph will help pedal the tandem that will pull the cart carrying his two younger brothers. On days when Joseph is in school, David, 4, will have a chance to add his own pedal power.
A few weeks ago, Penkaty, 28, started biking with her boys, with a mountain bike a bit too big, equipped with a tag-along (trailer bike) and a bike trailer.The contest was "good timing," she said. "I knew I had to get a new bike."On Oct. 1, Zepp, Penkaty and Strickholm will return to the shop to pick up their car keys and turn in a 400-word final essay titled, "Living Car-Free, How It Changed Me," which will be published in the Free Press. Reach Sharon Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.