Green Sedona

Eco-Rides & Rentals sells and rents a variety of electric bikes, motorcycles and neighborhood cars for the entire family.

With more than 3.5 million people visiting the greater Sedona area each year, it’s not surprising businesses in the tourism industry are turning to environmentally friendly practices in order to preserve our one-of-a-kind scenery and attract eco-travelers. In this issue, Sedona Monthly takes a look at adventure companies and hotels embracing the green movement; small town public transportation; and the Institute of EcoTourism. The red rocks have never looked so green.

 

BY ERIKA AYN FINCH. PHOTOGRAPH BY DEB WEINKAUFF.

In April 1970, Earth Day was celebrated for the first time. Society’s environmental awareness has come a long way in the last 39 years, and Sedona won’t be left behind. Red Rock Country is goin’ green, and Sedona Monthly commemorates Earth Day 2009 (April 22) with our first-ever green issue. As we were researching topics for this month’s cover story, the many green aspects of our community pleasantly surprised us. Narrowing down our areas of interest was no easy task and, if time and ink had allowed, you’d also be reading about incredible organizations such as Gardens for Humanity and Sedona Recycles. You’d learn more about the Verde Valley wineries using organic farming practices, the Sedona restaurants that favor locally grown ingredients, all five of the hotels that belong to the “Green” Hotels Association, and the numerous businesses that recycle and strive to be gentle with the earth.

While we’ve always loved Sedona for its stunning beauty, the research for this article made us swell with pride. For a town in a relatively remote location with fewer than 12,000 residents, many of our neighbors and business owners are still trying to do their best when it comes to protecting the environment, even in these difficult economic times and even if some of their methods are a bit controversial (hey, we know not everyone is a fan of the biodiesel powering the Sedona RoadRunner and Sedona Offroad Adventures, but please give them a hand for making an effort). There are obviously many shades of green, but, in a town based on tourism and outdoor recreation, we’ve come to believe even pale green can make a difference.


Adventure

Sedona has long been known as a destination for thrills, be it in a Jeep, hot-air balloon or helicopter. In the past few years, existing tour companies have started “greening” their businesses while new companies offering environmentally friendly adventures have come online. Last December, Sedona Bike & Bean and the Electric Toy Store, both located in the Village of Oak Creek, formed a co-op and opened Eco-Rides & Rentals at Hillside Sedona. The store rents and sells mountain and road bikes as well as electric bikes, scooters, cars and the super cool-looking e-bikeboard, a combination tricycle-skateboard-motorcycle with off-road capabilities and an electric engine. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, everything at Eco-Rides runs off electricity – a 110-volt outlet (the same type of outlet in your house), to be exact. The only gasoline you’ll find is in the tanks of the cars parked in front of the shop.

“We have a charging station here, and there’s also one at the Bell Rock Inn and the Institute of EcoTourism, but you can really charge these anywhere,” says Dan Towsley, store manager. “We’ve had a lot of people stop in because they’re curious about what we do. People are interested in this stuff, and hopefully they’ll rent something and realize they can’t live without it.”

Eco-Rides’ products range from the eGO Scooter, that will zip around Uptown at 24 miles per hour with a range of 25 miles, to the Zenn Electric Car with a range of 40 miles and a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour, to the Vectrix Maxi-Scooter with a top speed of 62 miles per hour and a range of 55 miles. All the vehicles are whisper quiet.

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