Bikes take center stage in Steamboat

Cycling summit aims to inspire, educate

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If you go

What: Steamboat Bike Summit

When: 6 p.m. today through 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Thursday and Friday’s events are at The Steamboat Grand. Saturday’s will take place across the city.

Cost: Free

Steamboat Bike Summit schedule

Today

6 to 6:30 p.m. Registration

6:30 p.m. Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong, the U.S. cycling industry association advocacy group

7:30 p.m. Kent Eriksen, longtime Steamboat Springs local and mountain bike building pioneer

A reception will follow Eriksen’s speech.

Friday

8 a.m. Registration and continental breakfast

8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bicycle Summit Expo, featuring dozens of cycling-related businesses, organizations, products, events, projects and ideas

8:30 a.m. Grant Fenton, with the Steamboat Springs Bike Town USA Initiative, and Blumenthal, with a welcome and an event overview

9 a.m. Ryan Schutz, Rocky Mountain regional director of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, speaking about his organization’s efforts to promote cycling opportunities that are environmentally and socially responsible

9:30 a.m. Tim Young, executive director of Friends of Pathways in Jackson, Wyo., speaking about the city’s pathways system

10 a.m. Break

10:30 a.m. Dan Grunig, executive director for Bicycle Colorado, speaking about the organization’s dedication to a bike-friendly state

11 a.m. Chris Hagelin, senior transportation planner with GO Boulder and the city of Boulder

11:30 a.m. Sarah Uhl, of New Belgium Brewery, a platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business

Noon to 1 p.m. Lunch, free for those who rode bikes or the bus to the summit and $10 for those who didn’t

1 p.m. Grant Lamont, of Whistler City, British Columbia, councilor and bike race promoter

1:45 p.m. Tom Prochazka, of bike trail design firm Gravity Logic Inc.

2:30 p.m. Jim Schneider, of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., speaking about the trail master plan at the ski area

3 p.m. Closing, including video presentation

3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Reception, with drawing for cruiser bike for registered attendees present

Saturday

Activities all day, including guided local trail rides and tours of Eriksen and Moots factories.

Specific events include:

9 to 11 a.m. Family-friendly events such as bike rodeo games, bike inspections and helmet fit checks and bike safety instructions at the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs.

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. IMBA Trail Building Workshop at Rex’s American Grill & Bar, from 9 a.m. to noon, and work on the Rotary Trail from 1 to 5 p.m.

— The inaugural Steamboat Bike Summit, which starts at 6 p.m. today at The Steamboat Grand with a pair of keynote presentations and runs through Saturday, isn’t about presenting ideas or fielding opinions.

It’s not about exploring what other cities have done, envisioning just what cycling could come to mean in Steamboat Springs, or listening to opinions about cyc­ling issues from across the country and the continent from some of the world’s leading advocates.

It’s not about any of that. It’s about all of it, organizers said, and they hope everyone in town will find something to explore when the summit kicks off today.

“We’d like everyone to come together as a community, learn, see what other communities are doing and see if we can do those same types of things in Steamboat,” said Grant Fenton, a member of the Steamboat Springs Bike Town USA Initiative, which spearheaded the effort to put on the summit.

“Everyone has an opportunity here to be a part of this,” he said. “It’s great. It’s exciting, and it looks like we’ll have a great turnout.”

The action gets under way tonight with Bikes Belong’s Tim Blumenthal set to speak at 6:30 p.m. after a half-hour registration period. Steamboat’s Kent Eriksen will speak next about the history of mountain biking.

It will stretch all through Friday, when a collection of guest speakers at the Grand will address current and potential cycling issues in Steamboat Springs. Meanwhile, an expo featuring dozens of booths will present projects, companies and ideas to summitgoers.

Everything will wrap up with a “play day” Saturday that will include family-friendly activities in the morning and a trail-building workshop that will run all day.

The event is free. Lunch Fri­day at the Grand will be free for those who rode the bus or a bike. It will be $10 for everyone else.

The idea of the summit is not only to showcase the work of the Bike Town USA Initiative, which has been meeting for a year and attempting to gauge what can be done to improve all types of cycling in Steamboat. It’s also to showcase what other communities have done well.

To that end, many of Friday’s speakers will be able to tell the audiences what aspects of Steamboat’s potential dreams worked well in their towns, and how those elements became a reality.

“We hope those that attend will have much greater clarity about the challenges involved in this vision of Steamboat Springs as a great cycling community,” said Lane Malone, project coordinator for the initiative. “We will have speakers from around the state, the country and even from Canada to talk about how cycling has successfully evolved in their communities and what we can do here to make that kind of thing happen.”

Malone said the hope is to address as many cycling audiences as possible.

That effort will include speakers from Jackson, Wyo., and Boulder to talk about the successful trail systems and bikes as transportation in those cities.

It will include a speaker from New Belgium Brewery talking about the benefits of being a Bicycle Friendly Business, as well as speaker Tom Pro­­chazka from the acclaimed downhill trail de­­sign firm Gravity Logic.

“A message is that this is absolutely meant to be inclusive,” Malone said. “All kinds of people interested in cycling and even people who don’t bike would benefit from attending because it is all about enhancing our community.

“This is also an opportunity to come together. People have been working on all kinds of things related to cycling, and if we can develop a shared vision, we can really make these things happen.”

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@steamboatpilot.com

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