Riders travel down Routt County Road 14 south of Steamboat Springs in November. Lane Malone, a member of Routt County Riders and project coordinator for the Steamboat Springs Bike Town USA Initiative, is seeking ways to expand the area’s cycling opportunities for older people in the community.
Steamboat Springs Are you one of those people who used to ride your bike but haven’t in a long time? Did life get in the way with a job and family, or perhaps the years got the best of you? Or do you think maybe you’re just too old?
Well, there is a great opportunity just around the corner that will help you get back in the saddle. Recently, Lane Malone, a member of Routt County Riders and project coordinator for the Steamboat Springs Bike Town USA Initiative, has recognized the need for an outreach effort targeted at older adults looking for a way to get back into cycling.
“It started when I got a call from Bill Root, one of Steamboat’s most active seniors. Bill had seen an article in the paper about the Bike Town USA Initiative and wanted to help out,” Malone said. “We got to talking about cycling options for older adults in Steamboat, and we agreed that the timing is right to put some energy into this group.”
There is a full range of cycling ability among older adults living in Steamboat. At one end of the spectrum, there cyclists ages 50 and older competing in Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series races or riding up Rabbit Ears Pass. Then there is a group of hearty Over the Hill Gang riders who call themselves “The Dirtbags.” This group can be seen riding every trail in town, and you may even have trouble keeping up with them. Next, casual recreational riders make up a large group of older adult cyclists. This group may ride with family on the weekends, stick to the bike path or venture on easier trails or less-traveled roads in Steamboat. These examples are just a few ways that older adults enjoy cycling.
The people we are talking about are those who may have ridden bikes during their life but for whatever reason fell out of the habit. Perhaps the bike they once enjoyed is buried in the garage covered in dust, the helmet is nowhere to be found and there isn’t a pump nearby to inflate the tires. The thought of riding is intriguing, but there hasn’t been a catalyst to help them get out and get going.
Having already canvassed a few people who fit this definition, Malone said she thinks a new program to help get older adults back into cycling would be a hit.
“I talked with people who would like to get back into cycling because it is friendly on joints and a fun way to exercise,” she said. “Some folks need help with basics, like route information, bicycle safety, getting their balancing skills tuned in and gaining confidence with braking, turning and shifting. Others are looking for new friends to start cycling with next summer. We think there is real potential to help this group connect comfortably with easy cycling.”
Malone said she would like to gather input from older adults who would be interested in getting back into cycling or trying it for the first time. She also is interested in ideas and comments you may have about cycling in Steamboat Springs and ways to enhance the experience for older adults. You can contact her at lane@steamboat
biketown.com or 970-291-9699. With a little planning now, a new program can be in place by spring that will be a wonderful asset to the Steamboat community.
Johanna Hall is an administrator for Aging Well, a program of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.