Biking Boulderites turn to toilets to increase access, build goodwill

Mirrycle Corporation founder Barry Schacht doesn’t just finance the Davidson Mesa overlook PortaPotty, he uses it himself (Courtesy photo)

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

By Ray Keener
Special to Boulder Beat

Every survey of U.S. bike riders reveals the same simple fact: Better, safer, more convenient bike facilities is the No. 1 thing that would get Americans riding more often.

Here in Boulder, we’re a long way ahead of most communities. We build multi-million dollar underpasses while some cities and towns are still striping on-street lanes.

We’re also ahead of the curve in terms of rider comfort, thanks to the efforts of a local company and a cycling nonprofit. They’re both financing portable toilets in well-trafficked biking locations.

Barry Schacht founded Mirrycle Corporation in 1978. Their high-quality, assembled-in-Boulder bike mirrors and bells are industry leaders and shop favorites. Riding with wife Jane locally and on longer tours in Europe revealed a gender-related comfort issue.

“Men have a much easier time finding a place to urinate,” Schacht said. “We decided to finance a porta-potty at a popular Boulder biking spot, and the top of Davidson Mesa at the Boulder Valley overlook seemed ideal.”

Now in its fifth year at an annual cost of $1,000, Schacht sees an added benefit.

“I look over every time I crest the Mesa, and I often see car drivers using ‘our’ potty as well,” Schacht said. “Anything we can do to build goodwill with drivers is a good thing.”

Cyclists 4 Community (C4C) supports many bike-related projects in Boulder County. The group is currently working on a Boulder-to-Lyons bikeway, among other bike-friendly initiatives.

C4C was inspired to finance porta-potties at about the same time as Schacht. Their original Jamestown potty across from The Mercantile was installed in 2018. There are now two more in Gold Hill, with plans for another in Raymond.

C4C President Ed Kuh pointed out benefits to the porta-potties beyond rider comfort. 

“Our signage on the porta-potties helps non-cyclists see us doing stuff for the community, then we hope they’ll be more tolerant of cyclists in general,” he said. “It lets cyclists know to be respectful and use the porta-potties.

“Common courtesy goes both ways.”

— Ray Keener opened a bike shop in 1975 and has enjoyed many industry roles since. He is currently Retail Editor of Bicycle Retailer magazine/website and manages projects at PeopleForBikes. Locally, he volunteers with Community Cycles and does bike fits on Saturday mornings.

C4C’s Jamestown porta-potty saves the town $1,000 a year and offers welcome relief to cyclists and other visitors

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