Earth-Friendly Colorado: Bikes, Brews, Soldiers, and Students Get (Mostly) Good Earth Day News

April 2011

Earth Day has officially matured from a fringe hippie holiday into an occasion to ring our enviro-friendly bicycle bells. And why not? There's plenty to boast about.

In the world of non-motorized two-wheelers, business deals are surging. By mid-June, a prominent corner storefront in Old Town, Fort Collins, will be home to Cranknstein, a bike shop/bar inspired by the local bicycle culture and "frankenbikes," common sightings at events like Burning Man and New Belgium Brewing Co.'s annual Tour de Fat parades (Fort Collins Coloradoan). And three business-minded bicyclists in Boulder have found success with handlebargains.com, another niche in the digital coupon market (think: Groupon.com). The trio created the site to focus on cycling-related deals and have amassed 2,500 email subscribers and 8,200 Twitter followers (Colorado Daily).

Boulder's cycling commuters also got a push from the Gates Foundation, which has awarded a $50,000 grant to the city's B-cycle bike-sharing program (Daily Camera). The grant is dependent on the group raising an additional $118,000 in private donations, about a quarter of the $455,000 they've raised so far. Manufacturer delays and a desire to ramp up community support have pushed back a similar project in Aspen by a year, until spring 2012 (Aspen Times).

The Defense Department is usually spared from Congressional budget cuts, but it's making efforts to save by piloting "net zero" programs focused on energy, waste, and water at Fort Carson Army Base in Colorado Springs (Gazette). Back in Boulder, tonight's "Microbreweries for the Environment" event gets local craft-brewers chatting with the Daily Camera about their own sustainability initiatives, which are all over the map.

Organizers of July's Eco Music Festival are hoping Earth Day will inspire people to register for their Eco Climb-It Challenge, a "3,000 vertical foot uphill race" that benefits schools in Aspen and Carbondale. Perhaps those eco-kids will turn into eco-grads with new "sustainability studies" degrees and certificates from Colorado Mountain College and Colorado State University in Fort Collins, which the Princeton Review ranks as the state's "greenest" college (Coloradoan). 

Vanessa Martinez contributed to this roundup.