Spoke Talk: Romancing the bike

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Three summers ago, I redeclared my love for mountain biking. Previously, I had a job that impeded my ability to ride on a regular basis. I loathed trying to keep up with other riders on the long, hard climbs, and I all but gave up the sport. Once I had more time, I set the goal to become a better rider.

One typical Steamboat Springs summer day, as I climbed the lower section of the Lupine Trail, I felt like a kid again. For those not familiar with this trail, it weaves and rolls through the trees and brush on Emerald Mountain, skier’s right as you stand at the top of the chairlift.

Lupine was designed and built for a rider looking for a climb in which you can maintain speed and a descent in which you can keep it in check but still feel the thrill of downhill riding. In other words, a trail that puts a big smile on your face. Riding that day not only reminded me why I love mountain biking, it brought back the pure joy I remembered of riding my first bike.

Somewhere along the trail I decided that as soon as I got home I would send a check to Routt County Riders. I felt something this fun warranted a token of my appreciation. I wanted to say, “Thank you, keep up the good work.” I ended up joining the club.

Since my epiphany on the Lupine Trail, I have taken my love for the sport, and appreciation for this club, to a new level. When I learned about the variety of projects Routt County Riders was working on, I asked how I could help. As a writer and public relations professional, I volunteered my time and talent to spread the word about RCR’s projects and events.

I also volunteered to work on the Quarry Mountain Trail. If you are a mountain biker and have yet to experience the thrill of riding a section of trail you helped build, I can tell you that smile you normally get from riding stretches so far across you’ll need to adjust your chin strap.

My love for bicycling has deepened through what I have learned about trail building and the processes required for creating new trails. I’ve learned more about riding on the road and the rules that keep us and other road users safe. I also have met many people through hours of volunteering.

Through the people I’ve met and the knowledge I have gained, I not only am a better bicyclist, I am a better citizen.

Earlier this summer, Routt County Riders was approached by Steamboat Pilot & Today Editor Brent Boyer about penning a weekly column. Like everything we do with Routt County Riders, these articles are written and edited by volunteers. In the coming weeks you will read about bicycling and bike culture including tips and information about the different styles of cycling we enjoy. We hope you benefit from “Spoke Talk,” which will appear Wednesdays for the remainder of the season.

Perhaps it will re-kindle your love for the sport, and remind you why it’s so fun.

To reach Riley Polumbus, e-mail polumbus@gmail.com. For more information about Routt County Riders, visit www.routtcountyriders.org.

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