Q&A with President of Routt County Riders Robin Craigen
March 24, 2010
Robin Craigen, president of Routt County Riders, lives in Steamboat Springs with his wife, Heather; daughter, Maddie, 7; and son, Chili, 4. He moved with Heather to Steamboat 12 years ago and said he's grown to appreciate much about the town and the Yampa Valley, especially the cycling opportunities it offers.
At Home: What brought you to Steamboat Springs?
Robin Craigen: My wife and I ran a charter yacht in the Caribbean, and three families from Steamboat came as guests. They were like everyone I've ever met from Steamboat. We generally don't stop talking about it. We tend to be our own marketing force. So these families, third-generation families, they just over and over planted seeds in our minds about what a great place it was for them to grow up. They raised their kids here. We heard a lot about the community of Steamboat. When we thought about moving off the boat to have a family, it became our first place to come check out. Then when we landed here, it was everything we hoped it would be. That was 12 years ago.
AH: How did you get interested in cycling?
RC: I didn't get into it until I moved here, and it wasn't even until I had been here two years I even thought about riding up Mount Werner. Now I do the Town Challenge, and I do some competitive riding, but for the most part, it's what gets me out of the office and into another place. It helps me appreciate why I live here.
AH: You're one of the leading proponents of cycling in Steamboat Springs. What keeps you enthusiastic about that role?
RC: I feed off the excitement of other people. And it's certainly not just me. There were people in this town long before me, back to the days of Kent Ericksen building his first Moots bike. There is a culture in this town that's always been enthusiastic about biking. I have a lot of motivation because I have two kids. I rode to school every day growing up in the UK, and I would love for my kids to feel it's safe and I'd love for me to feel it's safe for them to ride to school. We all know that when we got our first bike, that was our first taste of independence. It was a part of that whole growing up experience that we want our kids to have. You need to know the environment you're turning your kids loose into is safe. If we're going to encourage people to ride, we need to change the environment we live in. This town, with the way it's trying to grow, it would be great if we could fully embrace that idea of Bike Town USA.
AH: What is Routt Country Riders today and how is it developing?
RC: You don't have to be an elite athlete to be somehow in Routt Country Riders. Really, we are interested in helping people help themselves to make this a better place for riding. We are trying to make a connection with the guy who might ride his bike to the store to pick up a pint of milk as much as we are the person who wants to be an Olympic mountain biker or an elite road biker. Routt Country Riders is just an organization that brings all these different groups together. Just at our last meeting we were talking about initiating a Steamboat racing team, Steamboat Velo. We would be 100 percent in support of the idea. It's just another way for us to promote ourselves as a biking town.
AH: There is a major effort under way to turn Steamboat Springs into a major cycling destination. What about Steamboat makes it so attractive to the cycling tourist?
RC: We have the infrastructure in place. We have the hotels and restaurants and a town. We recognize that we have some world-class mountain bike trails already, and we are in a place where people want to come and road bike. So you have places where people have already acknowledged we have world-class riding. They love the terrain. They love the hills. But I think we can broaden our appeal so that people that would not consider themselves elite athletes might still come here and bike.