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Bike to Work Comes with Blessings
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Thursday, May 18, 2023
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Word spread fast along the Wood River Trail Wednesday morning.

“They’re blessing bikes up by the Ketchum post office,” one bicyclist told friends.

Indeed, the Rev. Jonah Kendall and St. Thomas Episcopal parishioner Mary Malkmus had set up a booth with a sign “Bikes Blessed Here,” and they were offering blessings and apples to all who stopped, along with a pamphlet of Safety Tips for biking.

Kendall had blessed sheep during the annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival Parade, and blessing bikes  seemed like an equally good fit given the church’s Green Team environmental ministry. After all, biking to work and school is good for the environment, he said.

“Bless this bike to have fun and get exercise. We pray that it treats its rider well and that she has fun on it…” he intoned.

Representatives of businesses and organizations taking part in Mountain Rides’ annual Bike to Work and School Day got pretty creative as they turned out to cheer on bicyclists.

Aliki Georgakopoulos served up steaming bowls of oatmeal from a silver serving dish on behalf of Limelight Hotel Ketchum, offering partakers dried cranberries, nuts, coconut and other nibbles to dress it up.

And she, Eric Bertovich and Denis Cote handed out a variety of swag, including Camelbak water bottles that featured a new twist cap to make them super simple for water drinkers to use, Chums glass straps with the Limelight logo, Limelight cell phone holders and even baby onesies featuring a map of Ketchum, including the location of the Limelight.

“They’re my go-to for baby showers,” said Georgakopoulos.

Sun Valley Company employees Cheka Amodio, Lauren Bourgeau, Ali Gardiner, Amber Green and Rachel Williams set up a mini-continental breakfast buffet with fruit, muffins, coffee and hot chocolate while Sam Cochran manned a sizzling bacon station. Cornhole games sat nearby for anyone wishing to make a few tosses before work or school.

“Yay! You’ve earned your bacon,” Lauren Bourgeau said as one bicyclist rode up to the giant bacon grill they’d set out on the path just above River Run Lodge.

The sun peeping up over Dollar Mountain illuminated the soft green leaves of spring as countless schoolchildren flanked by their parents made their way up the bike path towards Hemingway STEAM School and the Sun Valley Community School.

Tiny tots weaved a little, their legs pumping like mad. Five-year-od twins Taj and Jai Robrahn munched on waffles served up by The Elephants Perch, whose store employees were also handing out NextLevel “Ride Free Ride Fast” bike Ts.

Jen Smith and others from the Sawtooth Botanical Garden handed out homemade donuts, complete with icing. Ashton Wilson of The Environmental Resource Center left a few people scratching their heads as he scattered scat on the bike path, the idea being for people to identify the various scats once they finally figured out what they were doing there.

Kendall Kirkpatrick and Abby Dow handed out socks and other swag on behalf of Visit Sun Valley and Wild Rye, while Nicole Williams and Susan Chizum draped gold medals around youngsters’ necks on behalf of Big Wood Preschool.

“Everyone is a winner!” said Williams.

Kim McPherson of Mountain Rides counted 200 cyclists halfway through the 2.5-hour event on path running through Hailey. And there was easily that many or more on the stretch running through Ketchum.

But, while the morning was glorious in Ketchum, dark threatening clouds advancing north from Timmerman Hill prompted members of Higher Ground to pack up their station early.

Geegee Lowe, handing out muffins, granola bars and oranges on behalf of the Kiwanis Club, held her ground, her site near Balmoral Apartments giving her a front-row seat to northbound motorists crawling along the highway because of utility work near Roberta McKercher Park forcing them into a single lane.

“I’ve only seen one lightning strike so far,” she said. “But, if I stare at the hillsides long enough, I can see several arrowleaf balsamroot blooms.”

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