Steamboat Bike Summit ends with hopes for action
Wet, snowy weather canceled some events
October 23, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Ian Andress, 7, mostly just rides his bike around his Old Town Steamboat Springs block, and frequently does so with his parents.
Still, on Saturday morning, he soaked up bike safety lessons, taking everything he could from what amounted to the tail end of the inaugural Steamboat Bike Summit.
"I learned to signal when I turn," Ian said. "I like riding my bike. It's a lot of fun."
The final events of the summit played out Saturday. A family-friendly bike rodeo event took place at the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs in Old Town, and Ryan Schutz lectured interested locals about bike-trail-building techniques at Rex's American Bar & Grill.
In some ways, the last day amounted to a fizzle, snow and rain canceling a planned guided mountain bike ride and an outdoors segment of Schutz's trail-building workshop that was scheduled for the afternoon.
Organizers said they thought the miserable weather even held down attendance at the day's two indoor events.
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Still, when it was all finished, they said the excitement and enthusiasm lingering from the event's first two days defined the summit.
"It's been phenomenal," said Lane Malone, project coordinator for the Steamboat Springs Bike Town USA Initiative. "There's tremendous support for trying to improve the community through some of these cycling initiatives."
Thursday night featured several speakers and Friday had many more, all addressing the
admittedly ambitious goal for Steamboat to become Bike Town USA.
The schedule included speeches tackling many projects, everything from downhill mountain bike trails to improved and extended paved bike trails to streets designed and built with bikers and pedestrians in mind.
"Steamboat has the chance to do all of these things well," initiative Chairman Grant Fenton said. "We have a community that can make all of this happen.
"If you want to believe, if you want this to happen, it's up to all of us."
Now, members of Fenton and Malone's task force and the rest of those leading the effort are focused on turning a weekend of optimism into results.
Malone said first up — after a healthy day of rest to recover from the summit whirlwind, anyway — will be deciding what's first up.
"The feedback we've had so far about the summit is that people can't prioritize. They want to see it all happen," Malone said. "One of the first things we do need to do is decide what can happen first. We need to figure out where we need volunteers and what we need to fundraise for."
Some of the projects can't begin until next spring, at the earliest. Steamboat Ski Area's proposed master plan, which will include the county's first legal built-to-be-downhill mountain bike trails, still is open for public comment.
If all goes well and the plan is approved, it will start to be implemented when the snow melts, and riders could be tearing down the trails by the middle of summer.
Plenty of work can be done during the winter months, however, and that's what Malone said she'll focus on.
"Signage is a piece that's not ready to go yet, but we need to quickly have that conversation about where we need the signs and what they should look like," she said. "What's the best way to inform people, so they know how to get to the Core Trail? Those aren't massive expenses, but we need to get to that work.
"Winter time can be the best time, not for the trail building, but for everything else. We need to get ready to implement these things during the summer."
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