Catch the Max around Fort Collins!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in an “automobile society” when your family does not have a car?

I don’t, because I’ve lived it. I grew up in a Denver ‘burb and believe it or not, at that time, no public transportation existed for the Denver Metro area. By hook or crook, my sister and I had to find our own way to school events, jobs, friend’s houses, movie theaters — you name it — with our own two little feet. (Or, on occasion, we were fortunate enough to have friends and neighbors who would help us out with a lift.)

I always swore that when I was old enough to drive, “I’ll never go car-less again!” (my apologies to Margaret Mitchell). But now that I have had many vehicles over my lifetime, I’m finding that I actually enjoy — yes, enjoy — finding an alternative way to get around. I’ve been a bicyclist my entire life. Somehow it feels more natural to me to hop on my bike and peddle my way around town rather than turn on the ignition, suck down that gas, and spew toxic chemicals in the air.

But in May, a new method of transportation arrived in Fort Collins — The Max! I have now used the Max nine times and I plan to use it a lot more. If you are a biker, the ease of walking onto the Max with your bike is great. The area for bikers is located at the back entrance onto the Max. Two floor racks and two vertical racks are available. No more struggling to pull down the bike rack on the front of the bus and lifting your bike up and securing it. Plus before the MAX, I had to struggle with my bike packs; now I can keep them on the bike. I love the convenience.

The Max is reliable and runs on schedule as promised; it travels along the Mason Street Corridor just one block west of College Avenue. This route takes you right through the very heart of Fort Collins. And all three libraries in the Poudre River Public Library District are relatively close to the MAX: Old Town and Harmony are within walking distance away, about a half mile, and riders can obtain a transfer to ride the Route 16 bus to Front Range Village Shopping Center, home of Council Tree Library.

While you’re visiting the library, pick up one of the many selections of books available on alternative transportation. “How to live well without owning a car: save money, breathe easier, and get more mileage out of life” by Chris Balish offers strategies for living without a vehicle and helps you figure out just how much it really costs to own a car. Doug Fine provides a hilarious account of his leaving the life of a city slicker to live a sustainable lifestyle in the New Mexico back country in “Farewell my Subaru.”

Remember rides are free on the MAX until August 23 — be sure to try it out for your next commute!