Steamboat Springs resident Diane Carter commutes between jobs on her bike Wednesday alongside Mount Werner Road. Cycling momentum in Steamboat is building as local activists hope to make a more bike-friendly community, one that is worthy of the name Bike Town USA.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs resident Diane Carter commutes between jobs on her bike Wednesday alongside Mount Werner Road. Cycling momentum in Steamboat is building as local activists hope to make a more bike-friendly community, one that is worthy of the name Bike Town USA.

Envisioning Steamboat as a bike hub

Group hope to create Bike Town USA

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To make a donation to the bicycling task force, visit www.routtcountyriders.org. For more information about donating or helping out with the cause, the fall’s biking summit or the position to organize the town’s biking efforts, contact Grant Fenton at 970-846-1560 or Rich Lowe at 970-367-6083.

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Rob Clites of North Carolina rides Wednesday along the Yampa Core Trail. Clites stopped in Steamboat while touring the world on his bike.

— What Bike Town USA is depends on whom you ask.

It’s either a community cycling growth initiative captained by an outdoors magazine publishing company, a bike shop in the Atlanta suburbs, or one in Walled Lake, Mich., a town of fewer than 7,000.

Whatever it is, even Steamboat Springs’ most ardent cycling supporters say Bike Town USA isn’t located in the Yampa Valley.

That’s something they’re set on changing, in both actions and eventually in name.

Adopting the summer version of Ski Town USA is only one part of a plan local power brokers are pursuing. If they have their way, Steamboat will host a cycling summit late in the fall. The city’s scattered and in some cases poorly marked bike trails will be linked, mapped and signed, and its vast natural resources will be realized to make the town as popular in the summer as it is in the winter.

“We have got the mountains and the resort, the gondola and Howelsen,” said Grant Fenton, one of the people helping to pull the plan together. “All of this stuff is here for the winter, and a very easy, adjacent market to that would be cycling.”

United effort

Earning, not just using, the name Bike Town USA has become a pet project for the community in the past 12 months and began to pick up steam when many of Steamboat’s leaders sat down at the table.

The Bike Town USA task force, the group leading the charge, includes Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush and Steamboat Springs City Council member Scott Myller. Jim Schneider, vice president of skier services for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., is there, as are representatives from Moots and Routt County Riders, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and the U.S. Forest Service.

“There have been a number of entities that have done this work for cycling in the past, but they have never sat at the table together,” Fenton said. “Now all of our goals are tied up together in one cohesive effort. We think all of this would happen eventually, but maybe it will happen a lot faster this way.”

The group laid out goals at a meeting in May that include the creation of what will at first be a paid temporary position to do what the all-volunteer committee has been doing to this point, to pull together the city’s various entities to reach cycling-related goals. There’s hope of hosting a bicycle summit in the fall that would bring in speakers from cycling-friendly companies or other communities.

Planners envision creating “two perfect routes,” paths from one end of town to the other that are well marked and safe to encourage two-wheeled commuting.

“People should be given a bicycle map when they check in to their hotel that they can look at and see, ‘OK, this is how you ride downtown or to the mountain. This is how far it is and where you have to go,’” said Rich Lowe, another of the committee’s volunteers. “Right now it’s kind of a secret handshake kind of deal. It’s not always obvious how to get from here to there.”

The potential economic benefits of these endeavors are what brought many people to the table.

Even the best month of the summer of 2008 — July — fell short of the worst month of that winter’s ski season, 11,800 occupied pillows to 11,500. July was significantly better than June or August, both of which had about 60 percent of the traffic the winter months brought in.

“We asked, ‘Is there an opportunity to close that gap?’” Lowe said. “Maybe. … No one is suggesting this is the silver bullet to close the economic gap. There is no silver bullet in business or in life. This is one piece of the puzzle, and we think it can be an important one.”

But like a new chairlift at the mountain, the drive may be to entice tourists, but locals will appreciate the benefits.

“There is a great community enhancement side of this,” Fenton said. “It can be a better place to live with safer routes, a better place to live if you have really efficient ways for people to commute with bikes.”

Finding the money

Those plans may all be fantastic, but fantastic doesn’t equal funded.

First on the list of things the task force would like to accomplish is the filling of a position to organize its efforts.

The initial goals would be short term: work on a mapping project with Routt County Riders, coordinate the cycling summit potentially to be held in September or October, and marshal support from community members, organizations and businesses for the city’s efforts.

“The summit is the big Kahuna for what we would want to get accomplished,” Lowe said. “In doing that, one of the other things we’re trying to do is fundraise and get money.”

The group estimates that it might take $25,000 for the position and the year’s first summit. The task force is open to suggestions about how to make that money and is certainly eager to take donations.

It did secure ski chairs from the old Christie II chairlift, retired and replaced by the Christie Peak Express. Organizers hope to start selling the chairs immediately on the Routt County Riders membership page, www.routtcountryriders.org.

That money will be a start, but the rest must be raised, mostly from donations.

“That will go a long way to the $25,000 we need, and we’re pursuing other business and individuals to contribute,” Lowe said.

Earning the letters

Bike Town USA, as envisioned by the task force that bears its name, isn’t here yet. The city and the trails aren’t worthy of the name, its members acknowledge.

But if Steamboat’s movers and shakers have their ways, it will be. Bike Town is used by Rodale Publishing, which produces magazines such as Men’s Health, Runner’s World and Bicycling; recognizes bicycle-friendly communities around the country; and has donated bikes to towns in the United States and around the world.

Steamboat organizers hope their mission is different enough that they’ll be able to secure use of the name by the end of this month. Better branded signage around town and a few revisions or additions to trails — helping local users and tourists bridge the gaps in the current system — could be close behind.

Soon, Bike Town USA could be a name Steamboat could actually live up to.

“People travel all over the world to cycling destinations,” Fenton said. “Why not Steamboat?”

Comments

flashsteve 4 years, 2 months ago

Come on, is this serious? I travelled to Steamboat 3 years ago, considering moving there and I found it one of the least bicycle friendly towns I have ever ridden in. The most important thing for a cyclist is safe roads. What I found was no shoulders or bike lines in the surrounding area, and few, if any bike paths in town. Add in lots of SUV's, tourists without a clue where they are headed, and snow on the ground, and you have the definition of an unsafe environment for cyclsts. I spent two weeks in town, trying most of the surrounding highways and secondary roads and rarely felt safe. After my visit, I noticed several reports of bike/automobile accidents in the Pilot.
If you want to be known as bike-friendly, do the heavy lifting first: add shoulders to the local roads, bike lanes in town. Don't just apply for an undeserved title. By the way, I support Steamboat, and any other community becoming bike-friendly. I have been a life-long bike commuter and cycling activist.

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Cooke 4 years, 2 months ago

Flash - "few if any bike paths in town" -- were you looking very hard? -- there is a fairly large and well travelled one you can see from most of 40. 131 has huge shoulders now (added since you were here last). Oak Street has bike lanes (added since you were here last).
Perhaps before you degrade the community on the internet based on your years old assessment, you should update your info, do a little research, or visit us again.

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routtcountyriders 4 years, 2 months ago

It is true that there is a lot more that we can do, and the reality is that we are doing it!

We are aiming high and if we can reach the goals we have set then we will be more than deserving of the title "Bike Town USA".

If you ride your bike and want to know how you can help make Steamboat more bike friendly please consider joining Routt County Riders. For less than the cost of a new tire you can help us improve our community significantly.

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John Fielding 4 years, 2 months ago

.

This is great news, that a serious effort is being organized to this end.

Yes, it is not yet all that we would wish it to be, but this is an important step.

It is as deserving of public support as Triple Crown, the Mustang roundup, balloon rodeo, etc.

And who do we ask to permit use of the ski jumps for "bike flying" competitions?

From these humble beginnings a great creation may evolve.

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dave reynolds 4 years, 2 months ago

I have to say this..its 5:oo p.m. on sheild drive I'm going home and some nimrod on a bike is in the middle of the wrong lane heading toward the james brown bridge..so I politely tap on my horn to let him know I'm there and he totally freaks out cussing and swearing at me..if i hadn't of honked he would have hit me head on..he was busy showing his wife girlfriend where to go..so now you want to put more pompus arsses on the road..sorry no thanks while most cyclists i've met show me the respect due as i due them but unfortunately you have the 80%..20% rule going..80% percent playt by the rules but thiers that 20% who don't and make all the rest of you look bad..by the way its the same with drivers

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sledneck 4 years, 2 months ago

I'm glad the bike community wants to "do more" for bike lanes. bike paths etc. Great news. So long as the same bike community finds a way to finance it without puttin the gun to my head we'll be just ducky. Anything to keep them out from under my tires.

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John Fielding 4 years, 2 months ago

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When you say "anything to keep them..." you are by implication voicing your support for improvements to the roads that will make them suitable for present uses.

As it is a public way you cannot deny them reasonable use of it, so as with slow traffic of any kind all you can really hope for is a wider road to allow passing.

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greenwash 4 years, 2 months ago

Dreaming is good but connect the missing links first. We are far from bike friendly.

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sledneck 4 years, 2 months ago

In the interest of safety shouldnt we have all bikes registered and all bike operators liscensed with a special endorsement like motorcycles?

That way they are paying their fair share for the roads and we know they are educated on proper bike handling?

Also, how do we get them to stop running through stop signs and cutting into traffic? After all, most bike advocates demand we treat them as slow moving cars, but slow moving cars don't ignore stoplights, stop signs, etc. If bikers want fair treatment shouldn't they comply with all the rules of the road????????

If bikers refuse to do these things how can they claim they are safe? If they are not safe why should they be allowed onto roads where my wife and family drive?

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John Fielding 4 years, 2 months ago

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Hey sled, what is with the asking for more governmental restriction and taxation.

I thought you were on the other side of that issue.

We can't even keep cars from breezing stops or cutting in, (at least we haven't stopped me)

And bikes don't want or need just fair treatment, they merit special consideration.

After all a fender bender to you and me is potentially fatal to them.

And I also get annoyed when they are inconsiderate, but then I blow it off as trivial.

I wish I could ride more but the knee won't let me. More power to them.

And please, no new taxes, my kids have 2 or 3 junker bikes each, I can't register them all.

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sledneck 4 years, 2 months ago

Misery loves company, John. I'm not for more taxation, I'm for applying it to the corresponding benificiaries. Bikes use roads, roads cost money. Register all the bikes and lower my car tax. "Good for the goose...

I couldn't care less about bikers constattly exempting themselves from traffic law. It's the "holier than thou" attitude I often get from them that grievs me.

You are right that a fender bender is potentailly fatal to bikers. That is why I have always questioned the sanity of anyone willing to turn their back to 65 mph traffic. Dashboard cameras show cops being hit all the time by passing motorists. The area along the white line is a killing zone and I have serious questions about anyone who voluntarily spends time there.

Also, could I not make the same "true cost" argument that environmentalists use to advocate for higher energy taxes? The TRUE cost of supposedly "environmentally friendly" bikes is not being paid. If it were they would pay a portion of state and local road costs.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

So the goal is to get the title Bike Town so it can be used in promoting SB and so actually doing anything can be sacrificed as long as the title is acquired?

How about not caring about the title until issues of unconnected paths and so on is fixed and the title is not a cynical marketing ploy, but something that was earned?

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

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Is it too much to ask that neither wait for the other, that we work on both together?

Nicely enunciated message George.

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jk 4 years, 1 month ago

I was stopped at a stop sign today and watched a guy on his bike roll down the sidewalk, across the crosswalk in front of me, and then cut across the road. So George when this crap stops then I will give a hoot about your bicycle rights!! Until then where is the number for me to report these yo yos!!! Of course if I called in every time I saw a cyclist breaking the law I would never be able to get anywhere in this town!!! License them and their bikes just like everyone else! Every little bit helps.

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flower 4 years, 1 month ago

I recently saw an oncoming semitruck have blue smoke rolling from its tires braking and swerving for a bicyclist on the rolling hills of HWY 131. George how can you treasure that moment? Everyone at that scene was at risk because of a bicyclist.

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jk 4 years, 1 month ago

Ahh Georgie, I hate to use this self entitlement phrase again, but your last little paragragh reeks of it and makes you look like a buffoon! I can only hope the majority of cyclists don't feel this way, but it seems like most do. Enjoy your ride and remember the laws of the road apply to you. Oh and don't forget the golden rule "GVW Rules"!

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flower 4 years, 1 month ago

I did not say there are not obstacles in the road, but I question the individual that would find it pleasurable to be that obstacle potentially causing an accident. Why was he out control? To avoid hitting an invidual on a bicycle. I guess his x-ray vision wasn't working through the hill.

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bubba 4 years, 1 month ago

Flower, out of control is driving too fast for the current road conditions. If you cannot tell what is around a bend or over the next hill, you should travel more slowly. Regardless of what the obstacle was, the trucker was out of control if he/she could not stop in time to avoid the obstacle.

The majority of people who ride bikes around here stay out of the way of traffic, obey the stop signs and are generally courteous. There are always a few people who believe that rules don't apply to them, but generalizing that 'bicyclists don't obey traffic laws' is silly. I see cars run red lights and stop signs, see them speed through town, but I do not have a deep seated dislike of motorists, so I brush it off and realize that some people are bad drivers, while the majority obey the rules. Those of you who have a deep seated resentment of bicyclists see one bike run a stop sign, and blog about it for years, but never notice all of us who obey the rules. With how many bicyclists there are in this area, if all of us disregarded the traffic rules as you claim, there would be piles mangled Mootses and spandex clad corpses littering our roads.

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flower 4 years, 1 month ago

What is ridiculous is no one was breaking any 'traffic rules', but we were ALLl put into an unsafe situation.

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bubba 4 years, 1 month ago

Flower, I think you missed my point: Driving faster than conditions warrant IS breaking 'traffic rules.' according to you the trucker was on rolling hills with low visibility, apparently with a heavy load, and had to smoke his breaks to avoid an accident. If the obstacle was a school bus stopped to drop a kid off, a broken down car or anything else, the trucker would likely have hit it, since at lease a bicycle is moving the same way as the truck, allowing for a longer braking distance. I am quite sure that if the truck had plowed into a school bus or a guy changing a flat, he would have been arrested for careless driving, speeding and probably a few other things. But since the obstacle was a bike, which you are clearly predisposed to disliking, you fail to see that the trucker was speeding.

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flower 4 years, 1 month ago

So how fast would you suggest we drive though the mountain roads? I drive the posted speed limit unless there is weather. In this particular situation the roads were dry, the truck actually was an unloaded flatbed and did not appear to be speeding. I have no problem with people riding their bikes on safe roads or paths. Maybe you are predisposed to think everyone else is breaking the law and speeding. Again I am not insinuating that there will not be obstacles in the road, but why would you choose to be? Oh, and bus stops are posted to prepare drivers.

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bubba 4 years, 1 month ago

If he had an unloaded flatbed and was smoking his brakes to slow down for a moving cyclist, then I doubt he was going the speed limit, either that or his brakes need work.

I am not suggesting that car operators need to drive below the speed limit on dry roads, but when truck drivers study for their CDL, they learn the appropriate speed to travel, given the speed limit and weight of their load.

Weather is the most common condition that alters the safe rate of travel for passenger cars, but there are many other factors for trucks, trailers, etc which change the safe rate of travel, weight, load height and distribution being a few of them.

I am not predisposed to thinking everyone is speeding, but the circumstances you described seem to pretty clearly indicate that the trucker was traveling too fast to avoid an object in his or her path, which, incidentally, is called speeding.

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sledneck 4 years, 1 month ago

If pedestrians are going to walk in the road instead of on the sidewalk then tax them too. Tax 'em all. Bikers, walkers, ranchers' tractors...

The semi must use the highway, it has no other option. THAT is the difference you folks are missing. Oh, and the average semi pays about $6,000/ year for the privilidge.

Let's suppose the semi was in the wrong. Either way it's the biker whos dead.

Can someone please tell me what makes people who are apparently some of the most health concious among us risk not only their health but their very LIVES (and the lives of others) by turning their back on 65mph traffic??? Seems counter-productive to spend all that time on your health only to be smeared down the highway like some animal.

One other observation... I have seen lots of mtn. bikers going along with a smile on their face as if they really are enjoying riding. However, I don't think I have EVER seen a road biker with a smile on their face. Every time I pass one I look at their sour puss and think "yeah that guy looks like he's having fun... NOT".

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jk 4 years, 1 month ago

bubba, I think what everyone is trying to point out to you is the fact that the cyclist is the one going 20 to 40 m.p.h. under the speed limit and causing a hazard. That is their choice!! I was taught if I have a flat tire don't pull over in a blind area to change it 'cause you are creating a risk for yourself. As flower has pointed out bus stops are posted for safety reasons so people know that hazard may exist. Every time I have seen ranchers moving cattle around, they have some sort of warning on each end of the drive, because they know they are creating a hazard. Cyclists need to face up to the fact that by traveling on county roads 20 to 40 m.p.h. under posted speed limits they are creating a hazard not only for themselves but for others!!!!

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flower 4 years, 1 month ago

Bubba that is a pretty big assumption. This was just south of Oak Creek where the speed limit is 50 mph. The truck did not appear to be speeding, but my radar was not working, apparantly yours works very well...two weeks later and not even there.

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exduffer 4 years, 1 month ago

Rude bikers? Yes!! This weekend as we were ENJOYING the core trail after the parade we were yelled at 5 times from Howelsen to Fetcher for going too slow. 2 miles, 10 mph = 12 minutes enjoying the wildlife and scenery. I hope the main part of this is about education, enjoyment and appreciation of our surroundings, not just how many miles we have and how fast you can do it.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

.. The point about bikers rudeness is interesting but perhaps being taken a little too seriously.

These behaviors are readily apparent in most human activities, skiing is an excellent example.

One sees a little less of it among motorists here mainly because the roads are small and short.

But on any urban freeway, between the backups, you will see much outrageous behavior.

.

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bubba 4 years, 1 month ago

Flower, I am not pretending to know how fast the truck was going, or all of the circumstances, but if I see a trucker smoking his brakes and/or swerving, potentially losing control of his vehicle because of an obstacle in the road regardless of what it is, that looks to me like someone going too fast for the conditions. Clearly our perceptions are not the same on that front.

JK, I understand that it is a cyclist's choice to be out there, and sometimes they create a hazard. As such, I choose not to ride on roads that I feel are unsafe, 131 and 129 being the primary examples. BUT most popular cycling routes have signs with bikes on them that say share the road. When I see one of those while driving, I take that as an indication that there might be bikes ahead, much like an open range sign indicates that there might be cattle ahead, or a school bus sign indicates children or wildlife crossing indicates wildlife, or a sign with a tractor means there might be machinery on the road. All of those signs are used to indicate to motorists that there might be more obstacles on that particular stretch of road than some others. I agree that it would be best to not pull over to repair a flat in a dangerous spot, but a lot of roads in the mountains have great distances between safe spots to pull off, whether it is for a flat, a breakdown, to chain up, etc.

To the point of this article, there is clearly no shortage of roads that are unfriendly to cyclists in the area, and when cyclists choose to use these roads, it clearly upsets some of the area's motorists. To me, that seems to indicate that this area is not very bike-friendly. More signs and designations are not going to change that.

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bandmama 4 years, 1 month ago

I can't believe that no one has brought up the parents who lovingly place thier off spring into those oh so cute buggies and then seem to forget that they are responsible for keeping said bundles of joy safe. The day of the parade I had one such fine example of a parent not only cut in front of me at 5th street as I was ACTIVELY turning towards the rodeo grounds, but they seemed to forget that thier baby was attached to their bike. Yes, I did honk as I very nearly took the baby out. I got flipped off and snarled at...as the jerk proceeded to pull in front of another car. Do I take this as a personal attack against me as a driver of a motor vehicle? Nope, I chalk it up to thoughtlessness and stupidity on the part of the biker. Does it make me more aware of stupid people? Yup. The only thing I ask is that if, as a biker, you insist on not obeying the rules of the road, please dont assume that every other parent out there is aware that you are not considering your childs safety. That is sort of your responsibility. But I promise I will do my best to avoid hitting your baby while you glide in and out of traffic.

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Cooke 4 years, 1 month ago

Bandmama - You could be talking about me and my child at 5th St on July 4th. I was making a left onto River Road at the bike path and the driver of a car turning towards town nearly cut me off. I had to lock up my brakes. While I did not flip off the driver, I did metion to them through their open car window that they did indeed just run a stop sign. I hope that wasn't you, but if it was, you ran a stop sign and almost took out a man and his infant. By the way, I signaled, had the right of way, was traveling a safe speed, ride a bright yellow bike, have a flag on the child trailer, and have a bright red trailer. For all the anti-bikers, I was turing left onto the bike path so as not to ride through town on the roadway.

There needs to be much more understanding on both sides of the issue. As a biker, I sympathize most of the time, but see plenty of abuse by bikers through town and riding side by side on busy roads, But these holier-than-thou attitudes of "I ride everywhere and am saving the planet" or "Stay out from under the tires of my gun-racked truck" do nothing for the vast majority of us. Nor do they do anything to advance a debate.

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bandmama 4 years, 1 month ago

Cooke-, no that one wasn't me, I had been stopped at 5th for a few minutes waiting for the pedestrian/bike traffic.(and yes, my turn signal was on) I was waved to go by the nice officer who was directing traffic. I had been at a complete stand still for a few before I ever moved. And it was a very clear flipping of the finger. I was also turning towards River Road.
I would like to thank you though for being one of the few who do seem to care that we are all sharing the road. The flag you say you have on the child trailer is a fantastic idea. I dont think some realize that although we may see you, the BIG person on a bike, if you are near my blind spots with a child trailer, I may not be able to see the lower sitting trailer. Thank you for doing all you can to make your child seen by us and to keep them safe. I am not anti biker BTW. I am anti IDIOT-biker. If you are sharing the road, please share as you would while driving a car. When I am stopped at a stop sign or a light, dont do all you can to squeeze next to me when I clearly am making a right hand turn with my blinker on when you want to go straight. Dont use my car as a kick stand while stopped at the sign/light IF the light is red, that means for you also. Ride on the correct side of the road and please dont play Speed Demon and glide in and out of traffic, pass as you would while in a car. Be aware of your surroundings, and oncoming traffic. Move over to the side if you are biking slower than the traffic. It really comes down to being polite and using good judgement.

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Cooke 4 years, 1 month ago

YVB -- you sound like a real idiot. Nothing more to say to you.

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Truculent 4 years, 1 month ago

Yep, the string of comments certainly sound like a bike friendly community. Steamboat could be a place like bike town USA but come on! Have you been to any of the other destination mountain towns? Steamboat is not even close at this point. It's a great goal but it is going to take a lot more that whining about road manners to make it happen.

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mtroach 4 years, 1 month ago

Love the banter, same old same old. I'm bigger so naturally you should get out of my way. YVB wil share the road but not his lane, that's an instant classic.

Not to keep beating a dead horse but their are laws on the books to address all of these issues, the problem is enforcement of curent laws, ticketing those stop sign runners, bikes or cars, and educating all drivers/riders to proper rules of the road, and then testing them and requireing everyone to prove they know how to drive, not just operate a car.

As far as "bike town usa" my vote goes to ft collins or boulder, their new streets are designed and built to accomidate cyclists, steamboat turns shoulders into turn lanes, pushing cyclists into traffic at intersections and confusing drivers and cyclists as to where to be on the road. Our city says there is no room for a "bike lane" but plenty of room for an unsignaled turn lane like you see at pine grove and central park or down at the new third and lincoln. Thanks Philo.

I'll renew the "stop the brutal marketing" slogan to prevent steamboat from becoming something it isn't, and that's "BikeTownUSA". That's all this is at marketing campagn, not a real effort to change city road designers and earn a designation like BikeTownUSA.

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dave reynolds 4 years, 1 month ago

Yampa Boy and bandmama..I'm with ya all the way..there are great bicyclists out there who follow the rules and show respect..but there are "the special ones, the entitled,the eletists" for some reason beyond comprehens se to risk there lives,the lives of others and motorists lives to prove a point. what s...s is if a motorist hits them then its the drivers vault and the biker sues him, his insurance company and anybody else they can think of...years ago I witnessed an accident at Pine Grove and Mt Warner A cyclist was hauling a.. down Mt Werner and the light turned RED..Opps he couldn't stop and plowed into a car and went flying about 100 feet in the air..went to see if the IDOIT was alright and all he said was I was out of control I couldn't stop.. the poor guy driving the car was beside himself...gave him my name and number as a witness..the biker tried to sue but thanks to several witnesses the case was dismissed...everyone respect each other and be safe

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exduffer 4 years, 1 month ago

Can we claim Lance as a Steamboat product now that he's riding here like we do with our olympic athletes. Now there would be a marketing tool.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

So apparently idiot bikers are a problem and so should affect how all cyclists are treated but idiot drivers are to be expected and not a problem?

I think we can all agree that it is fundamentally wrong for SB to apply for a Biketown USA title. The cyclists can rightly observe that SB does not deserve the title. There is no way that a bike town would have engineered those bump outs in downtown to come out that far and force bicyclists into the flow of traffic. And then there are all the paths to nowhere and lack of marked paths along roadways and the relatively poor marking of those paths (a good bike path has a marked lane between the right lane and a right turn lane) and so on. It would be a farce to have a bike town title when there isn't even a bike lane for a cyclist to get across downtown.

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routtcountyriders 4 years, 1 month ago

There are many good points and many things we can still improve upon. The point here is to get your head around the vision - do we want to become "Bike Town USA"?

No-one is trying to say that we are there yet, but if we do not set ourselves a goal how will we ever get there?

It will take a lot of input as to what will make us "Bike Town USA". We believe that we will be able to show the community what this will bring us in terms of benefits at our Bike Summit in the Fall.

Economic Benefits: cycling tourism could fill much of the lodging restaurant and retail capacity that languishes in the summer.

Lifestyle Benefits: better trails, better connections, better roadways and signage would make Steamboat and Routt County a better place for those that live here to bike.

Safety Benefits: If we make it safer for you (and your kids) to bike, you might bike more often, which will make you healthier and keep local vehicles off the road.

Environmental Benefits: The Bike To Work Commuter Challenge that took place in June saved over 700 gallons of gas being burned in our valley. It is just the tip of the iceberg on how we can influence the world that we live in.

Adopting the name "Bike Town USA" is a marketing strategy for sure but I am sure that you wouldn't expect anything less of us if we are to bring people to visit the valley in the Summer just like they do in the Winter. No-one has suggested that we would pretend to be "Bike Town USA". It has to make sense. It has to be something that we can follow through on. It has to be something that we want as a community.

We have many of the the assets - many miles of great biking trails, beautiful scenery that people come to bike in already, freeride trails are being built at the ski area, a great community of biking enthusiasts, bike shops and even two custom bike manufacturers....we need signage, connectivity, more trails and some major road improvements... It is going to take money to fix what is missing and no-one is going to just write a check for this without some way to justify the expense.

We all enjoy getting things for free - thanks to all of our Winter tourists we have community assets way beyond our means. The opportunity that we have, if we get the initial Community support that we are seeking, is that many of the improvements that we are targeting can be paid for from grants and other sources of finance outside of Steamboat. The secondary benefit that biking tourists bring Summer tax dollars that we are desperately lacking which would be good for anyone with a business in Steamboat.

So lets get our heads around reaching for the goal of being "Bike Town USA" and get this initiative on it's feet. The financial benefits will far exceed the seed funding that we are seeking to get the wheels rolling.

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routtcountyriders 4 years, 1 month ago

YVB : Unfortunately the law does not agree with you. You are required to give three feet when you pass a cyclist. No one has to stay out of your way, you have a responsibility to be safe on the road as much as anyone else.

The cost of administering a license fee for bike and enforcing the registration would outweigh all of the perceived benefits. That is probably why this has never been done. This might also discourage people from riding, which does not seem like the right way to go either...(I am sure you will agree on that one).

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bubba 4 years, 1 month ago

YVB - People who go into the oncoming traffic lane while there is traffic coming are breaking a traffic law - it is legal to cross the lines to pass so that you can allow a 3 foot berth only if there is not oncoming traffic, just like it is legal to pass a car over a dotted yellow only if there is no oncoming traffic. The people causing the problem you are complaining about are not the bicyclists, they are the motorists who cannot wait a few seconds until it is safe to pass. I suspect that if the slow moving vehicle was a tractor, or an old pickup or livestock, you would not posting angry notes about ranchers or old truck owners, but rather the impatient motorist who is risking three or more lives for the sake of getting to their destination a few seconds earlier.

Maybe instead of complaining on the newspaper website about the lack of registration fees and identity tags on cyclists, you should try and organize people who feel that way and get the law changed - If enough people in the state agree, then you could make your fantasy reality, if not, well, democracy is unfortunate when you are in the minority. My taxes support a lot of stuff that I would prefer they don't, but what are you gonna do? I will not stop riding my bike because it costs a little bit more, and I suspect most cyclists feel the same. I think a point RCR was trying to make was that registration fees are to a large degree based on GVW, in an effort to match the wear and tear of the roads with the vehicles responsible. Since bikes are so light and are responsible for a negligible amount of wear and tear, the fee allocated to them based on the current system might not justify the expense of all of the additional infrastructure to implement that.

Your conspiracy theory about the lack of cycling registrations because cyclists like it 'stealth' is good though, keep going with that idea.

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sledneck 4 years, 1 month ago

Farm machinery HAS NO OTHER OPTION. Bikes don't HAVE to put themselves out there. Furthermore, farmers are engaging in necessary, productive commerce when using the highway.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

It is true that some drivers focus too much on the bicyclist and swerve into the oncoming lane to pass without sufficient focus on whether there is oncoming traffic. I've seen that happen while cycling. That is not the bicyclist's fault. That is the idiot driver's fault that they cannot fit their maybe 7 foot wide vehicle past a bicyclist with a 4 foot or so safety margin in a 12 foot wide lane and instead go 6 or 7 feet into the oncoming lane when it is not safe.

The idiot driver is probably not a bicyclist because a cyclist is less likely to panic when seeing a bicyclist and can judge relative speeds so that they can pass not at the exact moment there is oncoming traffic and can "squeeze past" the bicyclist(s) by maybe touching the yellow line and return safely inside the lane before there is another oncoming car.

But then some bicyclists are idiots as well. I've seen a few idiots in the limited sight areas of 131 OC canyon apparently unable to ride less than 4 feet into the roadway. Or bicyclists passing each other just as a car traveling in the same direction is trying to pass the group. A cyclist placing himself into the path of a heavy fast moving vehicle is taking a serious risk that the driver will avoid the collision.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 1 month ago

So you are a wheel sucker? Worst case of wheel sucking I ever saw was when I was doing the Davis double century and a guy that had been dropped by a leading group had literally stopped at the top of the climb to wait for another group.

It is a curious fact that in a properly working double paceline that the moment of greatest exertion is not at the front, but at the back. That is because the rider in front should be not much more than coasting in order to get in the backwards line, but at the back the cyclist has to accelerate from the backwards line to the forwards line.

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jk 4 years, 1 month ago

Scott, That's about the worst case of "wheel sucking" I have ever heard!!! Ahahaha sorry I couldn't help myself!

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bubba 4 years, 1 month ago

"I know what it takes to navigate AG equipment on the road ways." Funny, navigating around a bike is very similar - you slow down, wait until it is safe to pass, then do so.

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mtroach 4 years, 1 month ago

Hey routt county riders, thanks for chirping in on this matter. In the future, how about a signature from you on your posts? If you are speaking as the voice of cyclists on this forum, I would like to know who is posting. Anonymous posts from outspoken citizens are fine by me but if you are a representive of an organization, you should not hide your true name, and position with the club. That just my opinion.

As for "Bike Town USA" how about we get our head around using the access and influence that a large bike advocacy club like RCR has to bring about better roads, and REAL bike routes on roads like Pine grove, Hill Top connector, Steamboat Blvd, Walton creek road, and the other well used and unsigned shoulders in our town. The energy used to promote this lame marketing program could instead be used to bring about the changes we need accomplish to become a more friendly bike town instead of falsely marketing steamboat as one. I'm pretty sure Steamboat had a great following as a ski town, with Olympians, top international skiers, world class ski terrain and conditions well before anyone marketed the town as Ski Town USA.

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routtcountyriders 4 years, 1 month ago

MT - I have updated my profile so that you can see my name: Robin Craigen, President of Routt County Riders. I have no concerns about showing my name - just hadn't thought about doing this before.

All of the items you mention are items that we intend to add to our Master Plan which will become an Action Plan through this initiative. So many "plans" that have been created for our community speak to the need for connected bike trails, bike lanes, signage etc, but few have actioned any of these items. Our goal is to get it done. This is a process in itself: identify the needs, prioritize them, create a budget and identify needs for each project (bring it to "shovel read" status), seek funding and check it off the list.

As I said before "Bike Town USA" is a goal, not "lame duck" or "false marketing". We need to decide as a community if this is a goal we can work to achieve together, or otherwise no-one is going to pretend to be something that we are not.

Thanks for you passion and interest in biking issues.

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routtcountyriders 4 years, 1 month ago

Robin is also a guys name...

We are hosting a community bike summit in the fall to present the vision of Bike Town USA. This will be a great opportunity for input. It's a bit early for us to hear "no, no, no" until we present the information that we have been looking at.

I can agree with all of your last statement except for the last part about "stay out of my lane". We all share the road, and bikes will travel where it is safe to do so. Until bike lanes are provided all road users are required by law to respect the rights of cyclists. You don't have the option to threaten cyclists (that is also against the law).

RCR will continue to work to remind cyclists to be considerate of other road users.

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jk 4 years, 1 month ago

You have alot of work to do with cyclists in that forum RCR!!!

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sledneck 4 years, 1 month ago

Bikers might have the law on their side of the road but they forget that there is also a semi on their side.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

.

It is within the appropriate powers of government to regulate use of the rights of way to assure that all have access adequate to their legitimate needs. Therefore many highways have restrictions regarding slow vehicles, horses, pedestrians, etc. where those uses would create danger or undue hardship for the public.

Equally appropriate is the designation of bikeways, hiking trails and other locations where motorized vehicles are not allowed. Our greatest difficulties come into play where all users must share the same space, a common occurrence in a small town with few sidewalks and narrow streets.

Discourteous behavior is apparent in all groups of users, always by a minority of the group. For the most part there is nothing one can do about it, except to find within oneself the resource that will prevent undue levels of annoyance, to develop tolerance.

Just this morning I saw, within one block, a red light running auto, turning left onto Lincoln on the heels of other traffic, halting pedestrians beginning to cross, and a woman on a bike, in poor physical condition and thus moving very slowly, with a bike trailer using the right lane of Lincoln and causing delays for all the eastbound traffic.

The one offense could be ticketed, the other should be prohibited also. But the woman on the bike would have had to travel over on Oak St, as riding on the sidewalk there is not allowed.

Should bikes be required to detour around downtown, or maintain a minimum speed?

.

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routtcountyriders 4 years, 1 month ago

John, well put. We are always going to hear about the minority that make a bad decision. The hope is to keep this to a minimum and create an environment where we can all get along for the most part.

With bike routes that are more favorable to bikes in downtown (which will never happen on Lincoln because it is already too narrow) it is possible that bikers will seek out a route where a safe space is defined and the traffic is less intense. It's a goal that we are working towards - of course this take the support of the community to make changes like this.

Fixing the roads for cyclists makes the roads better for everyone.

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exduffer 4 years, 1 month ago

It all brings me back to an old letter written to the pilot. When issues of affordable housing were being discussed it was pointed out that there was an approved plat for mobile homes out on 20 mile. A very concerned citizen wrote to say basically ' you are not going to put mobile homes out there because the increased traffic will ruin my favorite biking road'. I guess he was only concerned about himself.

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John Fielding 4 years, 1 month ago

.

Gee that,s a shame George, we will now lose our towns most courteous and dedicated biker.

But I bet you'll make up for it in style as a smoke belching horn blaring "Yosemite Sam".

.,

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pitpoodle 4 years, 1 month ago

Does anyone think it is feasible to require registration and license plates for bikes so someone other than automobile/truck drivers can pay for new and improved bike paths and roadway shoulders? Or will this be another freebie for some of the population?

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bubba 4 years, 1 month ago

Pitpoodle, I'm sure this is not the response you are hoping for, but no, that's not really feasible, or logical. First of all, vehicle registration fees make up a small percentage of the state's revenues compared to the road cost budget. This doesn't even factor in Federal, County or Municipal spending on roads, so the amount you pay for roads as part of your vehicle registration are a drop in the bucket compared to the amount you pay towards roads in your federal and state income tax, your property tax and your sales tax. Second of all, registration fees are generally based to some degree on the weight capacity of a vehicle. (so motorcycles pay less than cars, cars pay less than trucks, etc.) So if you took the GVW of a road bike and came up with a fee based on that, I doubt the revenue from those fees would even cover the cost of implementing this system.

In a political system such as the one we have in the US, we have to accept that some of our tax dollars will be used for things we don't necessarily agree with. You don't like bicycles, but the government has an incentive to promote biking, because if more people ride bicycles, parking, traffic and road maintenance will be a smaller percentage of the government's budget in the future than if everyone drove cars. Not to mention the long term impacts on our new healthcare program if everyone rode 10 miles a day.

So what I am saying is, no, your idea is not feasible, well thought out, or really based on any political precedent. Just for the record, paying a nominal fee to register one's bicycle is not going to reduce people's interest in biking, either - I suspect that you are thinking that charging $50 to register bikes will reduce the bike traffic on the road, but you are talking about 50 bucks to a person on a bike that cost a couple thousand bucks, wearing a couple hundred worth of bike clothes, with 10 bucks worth of powerbars in their back pocket - the people on the road bikes are serious about road biking, and a nominal registration fee will not deter them.

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pitpoodle 4 years, 1 month ago

No Bubba, I like bike riding. I would like to see improved shoulders and paths but I also like user fees.

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