Our View: Celebrating cycling

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Editorial Board, June 2009 to September 2009

  • Suzanne Schlicht, general manager
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Mike Lawrence, city editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Grant Fenton, community representative
  • Paul Strong, community representative

Contact the editorial board at (970) 871-4221 or editor@steamboatpilot.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

— As if on cue, Mother Nature awarded Sunday's arrival of summer with consecutive days of sunny, warm and nearly precipitation-free weather. We couldn't ask for better reasons to ditch our cars for our bikes and pedal to work as part of Bike to Work Week.

Locally, Bike to Work Week began Monday and runs through Saturday, and a number of activities have been planned to celebrate it. Today is Bike to Work Day, and there will be free breakfast for bike commuters on the Routt County Courthouse lawn from 7 to 10 a.m. Other activities include a skills clinic at 6 p.m. Thursday at Howelsen Hill, a poker ride at 6 p.m. Friday, and a family friendly bike ride ending with a barbecue and live music Saturday. The ride begins at 11 a.m. at Wheels Bike Shop in west Steamboat.

Biking to work - or anywhere, for that matter - decreases traffic, reduces vehicle emissions, cuts fuel consumption and promotes a healthy lifestyle.

The lifestyle issue came up Tuesday during Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien's visit to Steamboat Springs. O'Brien is in the midst of a series of public forums across the state gathering ideas for how to better connect children with the outdoors. That's not a significant problem in Steamboat, where a slew of outdoor recreation opportunities are readily available to many of our youths. In recent years, youth bicycling programs have exploded in popularity here in Routt County, led by the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's cycling program.

As more of our children grow up on and around bikes, and as more adults in our community take to two-wheeled transportation, there is reason to adopt additional measures to become the bicycle-friendly community we profess to be. Nonetheless, there have been positive steps to that end recently.

The city painted bike lanes on Oak Street, and similar lanes could soon be created on Yampa Street. Led by the Routt County Riders bicycle club, new mountain bike trails are being built on Emerald Mountain - a true gem of singletrack riding in Northwest Colorado.

An extension of the Yampa River Core Trail in east Steamboat and the future addition of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Yampa River at 13th Street will further bicycle-friendly efforts.

And the Routt County Board of Commissioners is hosting upcoming discussions about the shared use of county roads. The first discussions are scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday and July 6. The discussions are the result of last year's poor decision by the commissioners to shrink the shoulders along Routt County Road 36, a popular road for cyclists.

Finally, it's worth reminding cyclists and motorists to obey traffic laws. When they do, the result should be safe, shared roadways.

The League of American Bicyclists encourages riders to follow five "Rules of the Road." They are:

- Follow the law. It's the safest way to ride. Bicyclists have the same rights and duties as other drivers and need to follow the same traffic laws.

- Be predictable. Ride in a straight line, signal turns and check behind you before turning or changing lanes.

- Be conspicuous. Ride where drivers can see you, use lights at night and wear bright clothing.

- Be aware. Anticipate the next move of drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists. Watch for debris, potholes and grates.

- Ride ready. Tires need air, brakes must work, chains should run smoothly, and quick release wheel levers must be closed. Carry repair and emergency supplies. Wear a helmet.

From the abundant singletrack to the hundreds of miles of county roads, there is no shortage of places to ride in Routt County. Whether riding to work or tackling a mountain pass, there are few better ways to enjoy the outdoors while getting exercise and reducing traffic. Get your bike out of the garage and considering taking part in Bike to Work Week.

Comments

trump_suit 4 years, 10 months ago

~grin~ I have been wondering about those shredded magazine pages.

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routtcountyriders 4 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for great coverage of Bike to Work Week. We look forward to a great summer of biking in Steamboat.

Anyone reading this please come to the County Commissioners special meetings on shared road issues scheduled for Monday June 29th and Monday July 6th from 6 - 8pm. This is a rare opportunity to work directly with County Government on making our roads safer and better for all road users.

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Paul Brabenec 4 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for a well-put endorsement of cycling. It's a great way to combine business and pleasure. I can't say I've often enjoyed driving to work, but a spin on the bike always seems to brighten the day. Taking a ride after work back home can allow one to leave the day's concerns behind. When you notice the abundance of 20, 30, even 50-year old bikes around town you realize how long they last and how cheap bicycling can be. These aren't pampered collector's items, either, but tools that are run day in and day out through all kinds of weather. That's the best kind of resource use, build things to last and keep 'em working. Steamboat Springs truly has abundant pleasures for pedaling. The 2500-mile Great Divide Mountain Bike Route of off-pavement backroads and trails passes through on its way between Roosville, Montana and Antelope Wells, New Mexico. Also lots of cross-country cyclotourists pass through on their way between Dinosaur Mounument and Rocky Mtn. Natl. Park. From these long distance journeys to a quick spin to the post office, it's a great place to ride a bike.

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aichempty 4 years, 10 months ago

I like to attach old credit cards to the frame of my bike so they flap on the spokes and sound like a motorcycle.

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trump_suit 4 years, 10 months ago

Aich, You should try the current ones with a large balance. They deliver a much deeper throatier throttle sound.

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aichempty 4 years, 10 months ago

trump,

I have one of the AMEX cards that's clear, with a chip visible inside. Have you tried one of those? Mine doesn't expire for a few more months.

It takes a bit more work, because they have to be replaced more often, but I've found that if you take the copies of Steamboat Home and the other thick magazines the Pilot sends out, cut them with a table saw or band saw to make something the size of a deck of cards with the binding along one edge, and then clip that to the frame with one of those big "bank" clips and a couple of hose clamps, you get a pretty nice rumble and there's less wear and tear on the spokes. The "bank clip" makes it easy to change them even when you're out on the road.

Is the slick paper in those magazines biodegradable? I'm only asking because a lot of it ends up shredded along CR-129 on the downhill portions of the steep parts.

Oh, I did try a solar panel, but it broke pretty fast. Maybe using a solar-powered speaker setup with a real Harley sound on MP3 from my iPod would be better. Ideas?

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aichempty 4 years, 10 months ago

trumpy,

Yeah, sometimes it's like being in my own ticker-tape parade!

I am also installing a handle-bar mounted web cam with cell phone air card link and an onboard solar powered computer so I can send video of myself to my home computer and watch it later in a bubble bath with candles and a bottle of wine.

Sigh.

I really love biking.

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mtroach 4 years, 10 months ago

Yesterday I was comming back from working out on 46c and encountered two tourists cars from idaho stopping in the middle of cr46 to take pics of a deer, and on another trip to the jobsite my progress was delayed by one of those big hay balein machines. I'm a piece rate contractor that dosn't get paid extra if the drive to work takes 20 min or an hour. What's a driver to do but be patient with slower road users and work with county government for better roads so that everyone can safely use our roads.

Your comments hint that you think bicyclists are out on the roads to simply block traffic, and cause delays. I can assure you that these are not the motives of riders.

What do you propose? Better roads with shoulders to allow room for slow moving traffic? or banning all traffic that cannot maintain a min speed? Or something else?

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trump_suit 4 years, 10 months ago

I am also in the position that mtroach describes. If the travel takes me longer than expected, that is just money that I cannot make today. Having said that, I find no problems looking at our beautiful valley while delayed, and can find no real difference between waiting for the cyclist, tractors, deer, cows, tourists or small children.

Drive careful and be safe out there. None of us want to read your name in the paper attached to the injury or death of a cyclist.

At the same time, these packs of cyclist that insist on taking up the entire lane of our twisting, winding mountain roads are playing Russian Roullette with their lives. All it takes is the perfect storm of timing when one of these Automobiles or trucks come around a blind corner and there is another vehicle in the on-coming lane. Once this happens just right the laws of physics will take over and if the stopping power of your brakes is insufficient to control your momentum before meeting the above mentioned pack of cyclists then ????????

If this is a cow, then we have steak tonight and pay the rancher for his/her loss. When this involves a human then lives are changed forever.

I know that the pellatant (?spelling) is powerful in cycling races. I just question the necessity when riding for fun or training. I do not understand why single file is such a problem when the danger is real. We can all share the road, but sharing involves effort by all parties not just the drivers.

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mtroach 4 years, 10 months ago

Try this excercise, next time you are driving, have your passenger sit in the seat behind the driver, then carry on a conversation, with the windows rolled down. Now try the same conversation with the person sitting in the front seat next to the driver. Notice the difference and you'll understand why some cyclists are riding two-up out on the roads. It just plain easier to communicate with someone next to you rather than someone behind you. That's one reason riders group into a peloton, communication, another is practice. If you comptete, you need the experence of riding in a group to help learn how to ride in a group. Without experence, riding in close quarters can be intimidating, and the more you do it the better you become, and the more at ease you'll be during competition, or on group rides. It's a skill like any other that if not learned/practiced is difficult to obtain. Much like driving in fast rush hour traffic or skiing on a crowded hill. Finally riding in a group can be less taxing, because drafting can save 20% or more in your energy output by reducing wind resistance.

It's unreasonable to ask cyclists to leave the road because you feel they are at risk of death because of other drivers. I felt that those tailgating girls last week were endangering their lives by tailgating at 70, should they get banned from the road? My vote is yes, tell me how to find them and get them off the road. Green Camry, gold trim package, teen girls with a hula dancer air freshner. BAD DRIVERS!! Then I think that if US40 had passing lanes, and they could have gone on their way they would have been less of a danger to other drivers, what's easier to bring about safer roads or patient drivers?

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jk 4 years, 10 months ago

I wonder if I would be taken seriously by the CSP If I was to call in on their little hotline and report a group of cyclists for breaking the law?? Maybe if a few groups were ticketed for their blatant disregard of the laws then their entitlement issues might decrease a little???

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mtroach 4 years, 10 months ago

Who takes an internet forum seriously? Your only real place to voice your thoughts will be at mondays meeting.

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