As the sun begins to set on another great bike season, I have to look back in awe at all the excitement we generated on two wheels during the past five months.
Although there’s been a lot of controversy around the title “Bike Town USA,” at least the phrase started a fair share of conversation, enough to inspire a three-day summit Oct. 21 to 23. This summit will bring speakers from outside sources, and together we hopefully will gain perspective to help us grow into a better biking community.
When I first heard the name “Bike Town USA,” I thought it was too cliché, especially since we already are Ski Town USA. If it were up to me, we’d be “Biking’s Soul Center of the Universe.” With two bike manufacturers, dozens of talented athletes, events representing every discipline of biking, miles of trails and roads, why not broaden our vision to include the cosmos?
However, no one asked me. That’s OK because as I was trying to think of what to write about this week, I thought of a better name. We should be (drumroll, please) “Steamboat Springs, the Place Where Biking Dreams Come Alive.”
Let’s take a few moments to look at a slice of our bike culture. Grant Fenton got the Bike Town USA task force rolling (pun intended), and he also is one of the behind-the-scenes Rotarians who awarded Routt County Riders a grant to build a new trail on Emerald Mountain. Speaking of Emerald, the city of Steamboat Springs is pursuing its dream of owning a priceless piece of land thanks to Lyman Orton, the City Council and grant writers like Winnie DelliQuadri. And speaking of grant writers, Johanna Hall and Gina Robison’s grant writing is building another trail on Emerald.
We have a new trails master plan for a future bike park at the ski area. A pump track opened in Ski Time Square the same night that Andy Hampsten, the American cyclist who won the 1988 Giro d’Italia and the Alpe d’Huez stage of the 1992 Tour de France, spoke at the Tour de Steamboat dinner. Tour de Steamboat capped its century ride for the first time and raised more than $40,000 for the Sunshine Kids.
Then came David Nagel, Jay O’Hare and a dedicated committee that brought the idea of a ride to raise money, globally and locally, for cancer. Ride 4 Yellow attracted its cap of 200 riders, including Lance Armstrong and Dave Wiens, raising more than $300,000.
As if that weren’t enough, the BMX Park was redesigned, the Steamboat Springs Stage Race grew, and we added cyclocross and downhill to our list of competitive events. Women’s rides grew by leaps and bounds, and bike rallies at our schools taught children bike safety.
I am afraid to start listing more names of the people involved in these accomplishments for fear of forgetting someone. In addition to organizing events, and building trails and bike parks, countless biking residents showed up to volunteer at events. They also showed up at City Council meetings to support the bike summit and extending the Yampa River Core Trail to the west. How could I possibly name them all?
I’ve been fortunate to know many of the organizers behind these accomplishments, and one thing they have in common is the big smile across their face as they see their dream turn to reality.
For those who still question the vision and moniker “Bike Town USA,” I do see your point. There are other towns out there that are way ahead of us in the number of trails, biking friendliness and infrastructure. However, our community is well endowed with dreamers, doers and supporters who make ideas come to fruition. Thanks to everyone keeping our momentum going.