Steamboat hosts stage of Bicycle Tour of Colorado
June 21, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Kevin Lockhart knew his wife, Amber, might be "the one" after their first date involved a bike ride.
He thought she was a keeper in 2008 when he bought her a $3,000 bike.
And after the two married in 2009, Kevin made the wise or unwise choice of buying a tandem bike for the newlyweds.
"My friend said it would send us into divorce," said Kevin, taking a moment to set up his tent after an 80-mile ride from Granby to Steamboat Springs as part of the 17th annual Bicycle Tour of Colorado. "He said it would either tear (our relationship) apart of make it stronger."
Luckily for the Lockharts, the tandem bike has done the latter.
The two, who live 30 miles north of Los Angeles at the foothills of the Angeles National Forest, are completing their second Bicycle Tour of Colorado on a tandem bike.
The two bought the bike in February 2010 and did their first tour that same year. It wasn't always pretty. The first time the two got on the tandem, there was a huge learning curve.
Mostly, how to get going? How to stand? When to sit?
"There were a couple of horrifying experiences," Kevin said. "Like when to stand in unison. When to sit in unison."
Now the two almost prefer the tandem to their own bikes. In preparation, the Lockharts have logged a couple of thousand miles on the two-seater since January.
With Kevin a firefighter and Amber a nurse, the long shifts lend themselves to several days reserved for riding.
"Headwinds are easier on the tandem," Amber said. “The flats and rollers are easier.
When you descend it's easier on your own bike. But when there is a headwind, you can duck behind him."
The two were among 1,500 or so riders who descended into Steamboat today on the 460-mile Bicycle Tour of Colorado.
The tour started in Gilpin County on Sunday and travels to Estes Park, Granby, Steamboat, Glenwood Springs and Frisco and finally finishes Saturday back in Gilpin County.
"This is what I enjoy," said Carl Sundermann, who used his vacation time to come from Des Moines, Iowa, for his fourth tour. "I wouldn't keep coming back if I didn't enjoy it. You do the best you can to train (in Iowa). It's a lot of miles and a lot of saddle time. But I love it. I love the air and the environment out here. It's fun."
Riders head out of Steamboat today, making a 103-mile ride to Glenwood.
The tour continues a busy summer of biking in Steamboat. The seventh annual Tour de Steamboat hits town July 16, with the inaugural Honey Stinger mountain bike race July 24. The second annual Ride 4 Yellow event is Aug. 7, with the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge race Aug. 26 and 27. The Steamboat Springs Stage Race is Sept. 2 to 5.
— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com