Helen Bergman: Bad bike route

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— To the people who organize bicycle tours through Steamboat: Why in the world do you bring 2,000 bicyclists into and out of town on River Road instead of U.S. Highway 40?

The lanes on River Road are not standard width; instead they are somewhat narrower. There is no shoulder on River Road. Add to that the fact that there are many blind curves and now, due to recent mud/rock slides, serious road damage. U.S. 40 has wide shoulders, standard lane widths, and is four lanes wide as it approaches town.

Is it because U.S. 40 has stoplights and bicyclists might be obligated to stop for a light whereas they blow through the stop signs on River Road?

I live in the Brooklyn addition on River Road. On Tuesday, I tried to just go on about my business as 2,000 bicyclists streamed past my house. A part of my business on Tuesday was to back my camper into my driveway. After waiting at least 35 minutes for a break in the bike traffic, I began to position the camper. Unfortunately, I’m not good enough to make it in one fell swoop and it required me to pull forward, momentarily blocking one lane of River Road. I observed that the break in the bike traffic was over and stopped where I was. A car would have allowed me the courtesy of finishing my maneuver. A bicyclist — no way.

Instead I had a female bicyclist cuss me out for blocking her path. I politely told her she could use the opposite lane to go around in front of my truck as motorized vehicles would do. She did take my suggestion after a few more unprintable words. I’d like to point out that she, as well as all the other bicyclists I saw Tuesday, failed to stop at the stop sign just south of my house, which had she and the others done, would have given me the time I needed to complete my maneuver. I thought bicyclists were subject to the same rules as motorists. Do you, the organizers and application approvers, exempt them?

Again, why do you put 2,000 people in harm’s way by routing them down River Road? Do you intentionally want to create animosity between motorists and bicyclists? No matter what you think when you are setting up these routes, bear in mind that while on this tour, the bicyclists exhibit an attitude that they own the road on which they are riding. They will and do travel two and three abreast, making it a challenge for a motorist to safely pass them. The motorist gets frustrated following the slow-moving cyclists. I don’t need to belabor what the end results can be.

The bicyclists will and do blow through stop signs. That’s irritating for those of us trying to pull in and out of our driveways. I don’t think the bicyclists riding the tour would tolerate this kind of traffic if it were in their neighborhood. Why do the Brooklyn residents have to? You, Mr. and Ms. Organizer and Application Approver, have a safer, less obtrusive alternative. Why don’t you use it?

Helen Bergman

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Brian Kotowski 3 years, 6 months ago

I hiked Mad Creek the other day, and couldn't believe the number of cyclists on 129. Big rigs, ag equipment, RVs... hell, even my F150's a tight squeeze with bikes on the non existent shoulder. You couldn't pay me to ride 129. Seems like a great way to become a stain on the pavement.

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Michael Loomis 3 years, 6 months ago

If the RTR tour went out on Hwy 40, people would write to complain about riding 2,3,4 abreast on that road, and asking why the tour put riders on such a fast highway, why don't they use River Road! These tours almost encourage riders to ignore traffic laws. The riders are in a large group and on vacation, which automatically reduces the IQ of the individuals. (Picture the tourist driving at 15mph down Lincoln Ave when they abruptly swerve left across two lanes of traffic. Or when they walk across Lincoln midblock in heavy traffic, kids in tow.) When these tours come to town, we have traffic control waiving them through while vehicle are held, regardless of lights or stop signs. They feel they are entitled to the same on the open road, ignoring all laws. They do bring a lot of mid-week business to town, so do we put up with the bad behavior?

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 6 months ago

How about the traffic mess caused by closing Lincoln for the Mustangs?

What sort of person picks the one day a year in which 2,000 cyclists pass in front to attempt to move a camper - especially when admittedly not skillful at backing up?

This is a tourism city. If you want no property tax and yet a city with the money to pave the roads then accept tourists.

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Amy Harris 3 years, 6 months ago

Helen, you ought to take the considerable amount of time and energy it took to write your lengthy complaint and put that toward helping your community. I agree that if we want our town to continue to be a great place to live, we have to endure a few moments of irriitation every so often. Lighten up!

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mike sharkey 3 years, 6 months ago

Oh, tolerant steamboat! hey skifree (Glen?) maybe you should check your facts. The ride the rockies are their own entity and make their own decisions as far as route and towns they visit. Traffic problems on twenty mile? I am sure it was worse than rush hour in LA. Rude behavior? probably a reflection of how they were greeted. how many times did the cops have to be called for noise complaints or about jimmy's mom kicking jonny's mom's a** because someone stole a base? one thing i did not see was the massive amounts of trash and drink bottles strewn about all of our parks etc and blowing in the wind after an all day bbq that nobody wanted to clean up after. Helen i am SOOOOO sorry you were inconvenienced for an entire afternoon by a special event taking place this year. Sure there were definitely examples of bad bike etiquette and poor decisions regarding self preservation but i see this stuff being done EVERY DAY by locals and tourists alike. so many people whining about having to drive around bicycles. Is it really that hard to lift a foot off the accelerator for 10 seconds and pass when it is safe? Passing 1 bike or 5 it is the same simple procedure. I believe the traffic laws do allow me to occupy a SAFE lane of travel on PUBLIC ROADS and NO when i am traveling at 25+ mph i am not going to be 2 inches from the shoulder putting myself in danger. I have found, from personal experience, that most dangerous situations that occur between bicyclists and drivers stem from over aggressive driving and a simple lack of respect for fellow humans.

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OnTheBusGus 3 years, 6 months ago

Yes skifree, check your facts! Craig Kennedy is only involved in the adaptive cycling program. Well, unless you mean for more people to be in the adaptive program by being seriously injured from auto/bike accidents. Here is the fact checking I did for you: http://www.routtcountyriders.org/adaptive-cycling

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Zed 3 years, 6 months ago

You read the comments on here and would think we live in a huge city with big city problems. Have bicyclists really become this huge inconvenience in our little town where everyone is now in a big rush and feels endangered by someone on a bike? I read the hot air on here and then I go for a road ride and encounter for the most part respectful motorists and a good majority of riders who make an effort to stay to the right and follow rules of the road. I was on the Stagecoach to Oak Creek to Coal Mine loop and saw maybe 12 cars in 3 hours! They all gave me three feet, they all waved back and that has been the case as long as I have been road riding here outside of a small few who want to prove a point by buzzing me or leaving me in a cloud of exhaust. I go on twenty mile for a lunch ride and see more cows than cars and the cows pose a bigger threat to my safety!

Have you been in the Steamboat bubble so long that waiting to pass a scofflaw bicyclist sends you off the deep end? Take a deep breath, there are bigger issues to be concerned with.

Are there idiots on bikes? Yes. Solution: Enforce laws of the road, educate new riders, and yes ask special events directors to consider the impact on locals.

And Sep, no one cares that you drive an F150 and the chances are just as high that you will be a stain on your windshield from a horrible car accident, but I don't need to add that to every comment I post do I? I can't believe people commute from Craig to Steamboat every day, what with the people killed and injured by rocks, wildlife, and head on collisions. 129 actually has some really nice shoulders past Mad Creek and most motorists I encounter on that road again have no problem passing me. I am sure that big F150 has the horsepower to pass a cyclist just as fast as you would pass a slow moving trailer?

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Zed 3 years, 6 months ago

Also as I was going about my regular business on Sunday... I sat in traffic on Lincoln due to the Mustangs, I listened to Mustangs race by my house all weekend, I was passed by speeding Mustangs on numerous roads. All highly irritating, but it was one day out of the year and something I accept as a resident of Steamboat. If you feel slighted by every group that comes to town it will be a tough life here.

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fartpark 3 years, 6 months ago

First off to Scott "the expert of everything" Wedel. You say what type of person picks the day 2000 cyclists pass in front of your house to move a camper. That is the pinnacle of stupid statements. Are we supposed to plan our recreational activities around a gaggle of inconsiderate cyclists? I bet Helen paid for a registration on her camper, and truck--but she should be more patient as some on here are suggesting. This whole aspiration to be "Bike town USA" to boost the local economy is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. How much money do a couple who show up here in a VW bus with the bikes strapped to the roof actually spend? They might buy some bottled water, or a few items from the health food store, I'm pretty sure that will not renew the local economic slump. I drive 20 Mile road almost daily, and the casual bike riders are the friendly ones who obey the rules, and ride single file. Then you have the Honey Stinger crew--holy hell are these clowns really something. If a person didn't know any better they would actually think the Honey Stinger clan built, and paid for 20 Mile road. It just amazes me there are not many more bike vs car accidents when you see the sense of entitlement some of these tour de francers possess.

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Clearsky 3 years, 6 months ago

What if those 2000 people decided to drive a car, truck, or motorcycle? Would that be OK? A procession of vehicles is just that, it is a special occasion that occurs once in a great while such as a wedding or funeral. Life is full of good behavior, we should all practice.

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Glenn Little II 3 years, 6 months ago

So I was wrong, I meant Robin Craigen.. I was also wrong about road biking and that's what matters most because those people represented that user group. It would be interesting to see what happens if we just focused off the road it's obviously causing issues. This lady is not happy and that is pretty clear.. Is this a turf war or some street gang battle? I think not, but if Steamboat ever becomes bike town or whatever people want to call it then the people that ride bikes are going to have to solve user conflicts on there own. Take for instance the user conflict between mtn bikers and a horse riding on a mtn bike trail. Even if the horse and it's rider are aloud on the trail when it's wet, does not mean they are deliberately causing damage and representing there whole user group. But it would be common sense not to ride on that trail and ruin the relationship between two user groups. I mean it's just a horse. These country roads were built for two lane country traffic and farm vehicles now use them. There is no room to expand for bike lanes so maybe someone should have figured that out first. At least if it was 2000 horses they would not know any better.

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JJ Southard 3 years, 6 months ago

If it was 2000 horses, we would have an editorial about horse dung.

At least the bikers use a toilet. Please, skifree, don't give them any ideas.

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Troutguy 3 years, 6 months ago

I bet if you ask local businesses how they did during the two nights that Ride the Rockies were here, they would disagree that trying to become Biketown USA is "the dumbest thing you ever heard". I know the restaurant I work at was up over 200% from the same week last year, largely due to the Ride the Rockies. The Quiznos Pro Challenge is expecting 15,000 - 20,000 people over night when they ride thru. Won't be much of a boost to the local economy, now will it? And do you really think that everyone that comes to Steamboat to ride is gonna be driving a VW bus and not spend money? Really? Maybe, just maybe, they may stay in a hotel, eat out at a couple of restaurants, buy parts or maybe even a new bike while they are here. A trip to the Hot Springs after a ride? Maybe pay a local outfitter to go tubing after a day riding? And, if they have a good time, they might just bring a few more friends or family members back for a return visit. Oh, the humanity of it all! What exactly do you suggest we do to bring tourist to our town in the summer? Double up on Triple Crown? No problems with that group now are there?
We are a tourist town. Sometimes we need to hoar out our little berg to people who will come and spend money, which in turn makes it possible to live in here. Without one, we would hardly have the other.

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SMRFF 3 years, 6 months ago

Trout - I agree with you that these events are great economic catalysts for our town and should be encouraged and welcomed when the opportunity is there. Anyone who lives here and is also anti-tourist/tourism needs to come back to reality or GTFO. This town would not be what it is if it weren't for tourism.

In my opinion, however, it is not the large scale RTR and Pro Challenge type events that are the issue - these are highly organized and involve a lot of pre-planning - it's the promotion of Steamboat as Bike Town USA to the general tourist that is the issue. I think the concept is great, but our infrastructure simply isn't road-biker friendly, yet, no matter how you spin it. With all of our scenic roadways, we definitely have a plethora of opportunity to become a world-class road biking destination, but there needs to be some major improvements to take advantage of those opportunities. This is essentially like marketing "Ski Town USA" before any lifts are installed or runs are cut. It's a great idea but doesn't make sense unless the product actually exists. Cart before the horse I guess.

Given our trail system and projected trail improvements, I think "Mountain Bike Town USA" makes great sense. Why don't we start with that and work towards the general "Bike Town USA" as our infrastructure improves? Just my two cents.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 6 months ago

Routt County could reasonably call itself a bike county because the paved county roads have light vehicle traffic and this is one of the more enjoyable places for road cycling.

It is just wrong for Steamboat to be spending money on marketing the Bike Town USA Initiative when SB's bike infrastructure is lacking. Get the infrastructure done right and then market it.

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mtroach 3 years, 6 months ago

"It is just wrong for Steamboat to be spending money on marketing the Bike Town USA Initiative when SB's bike infrastructure is lacking. Get the infrastructure done right and then market it."

"the promotion of Steamboat as Bike Town USA to the general tourist that is the issue. I think the concept is great, but our infrastructure simply isn't road-biker friendly, yet, no matter how you spin it. With all of our scenic roadways, we definitely have a plethora of opportunity to become a world-class road biking destination, but there needs to be some major improvements to take advantage of those opportunities. This is essentially like marketing "Ski Town USA" before any lifts are installed or runs are cut. It's a great idea but doesn't make sense unless the product actually exists. "

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Council; It's irresponsible to pass the marketing funding and not the $104,000 to fix the roads.

No one called this place Ski Town USA till AFTER the Werners and other great skiers put us on the map, and really we can't compare to some of the other bike towns in the USA, so why not downscale the marketing to just Bike Town of NW Colorado. That is at least believable.

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Glenn Little II 3 years, 6 months ago

So why don't we focus on what is good right now and where we do have room to build.. The Mtn Biking community in this town deserves some downhill bike trails to help resolve user conflict. I have many friends in the Freeskiing and Downhill Bike communities which I would have not met in any other way. Talking to all these individuals they hope and pray that bike trail conflict will end once DH specific trails are finally built in Steamboat. Response from local riders not only in Steamboat but from the Front range who would love to be involved in helping build trails and be a part of this movement. I know there is a huge industry behind this and bringing tourism to the area in the summer time. I have traveled to Whistler, BC in the summertime and have seen what could be possible here in this area. The rotary trail at cow creek is just the beginning of what's to come. There is a strong will and urge in this community to find a new industry to profit from besides skiing and kayaking. The technology in DH bikes has brought it to be one of the most popular sports of which many youth members of the community have been bred and raised into. Our mountain is amazing in the summer time and with properly built trail systems which require maintenance, jobs can be created through the youth corps and other organizations such as rotary for example.. Events, major riders sponsors, and huge companies would come to Steamboat in search of new trails and the Steamboat bike market would thrive! Our local parks and resorts are due for an upgrade which the majority supports. I cannot wait to see a final product for the Freeride community and watch trail conflict wash away in the spring runoff the next spring after these trails are built.

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Troutguy 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't think that 'Bike Town USA' was meant to promote only road riding. Mtn biking is just as big around these parts as is road riding, as Skifreelivelove mentions above. Things such as the old 24 hours of Steamboat and even the town challenge show this to be true.

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Cory Prager 3 years, 6 months ago

(Skifreelivelove) I am also very excited to see constuction start up on the mountain. It will be such an asset to our community to have directional trails and more skills parks. Keep your ears open for another DH race this fall I will have details soon.

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kyle pietras 3 years, 6 months ago

I live in Brooklyn and loved it! Go bike and smile big!

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Bitchbee 3 years, 6 months ago

Cant we all just complain about MMJ............ uh wait all we do IS COMPLAIN.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 6 months ago

Skifree, What is important for any concept of being a bike town are the details making it easier for bicyclists in the city. A huge step in the wrong direction was the bump outs along Lincoln which force bikes back into the flow of traffic.

A bike friendly city realizes that bicyclists are more than just families looking for safe places to ride. The real difference for a bike city is making it easy to commute and conduct business on bikes. Not that every street is to have a bike lane, but there is a good way to get at least close to your destination. A mixed use curvy path does not work because it is unsafe to ride at speed and thus takes too long to get to destination. The big issue for SB is trying to get through downtown safely on a bike. Lincoln is not a safe option for most (safe only if can ride at 25+ mph along with traffic). SB needs at least a bike lane south heading east on Yampa with a path through Riverwalk or using alley to avoid the congestion of 5th and Lincoln. And Oak St needs a good bike lane going west with fewer stop signs and maybe a summer street closure at 6th to stop cars from using it as a bypass of Lincoln.

BB, Like find some reasons to complain about the mustang rally? And the mmj influence is never far away - did anyone else notice their ballot boxes for best car was sponsored by RMR?

(joking - it was RMMR - maybe new competitors Rocky Medical Marijuana Remedies or maybe Rocky Mountain Mustang Roundup).

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kathy foos 3 years, 6 months ago

I've seen several bikes stopping for the lights and making great efforts to obey the rules...even flashing a smile along with it.I have no problem with them when they follow the traffic laws and I know what to expect from them.It seems everyone has tried to move back into single lanes A.S.A.P. when a car comes.The large ride of the rockies went well on 131 where I saw them,the state patrol motorcycles did a good job moving it along.That tour was such a challenge for the riders.They were chilly camping at night .Once in town I could see the confusion for them getting around for the day off or the 20 mile ride.I think Scott is right about the downtown needing something done(and the Brooklyn area).There is a great bike trail base already established.It saves gasoline and provides a lot of enjoyment in our short season of summer.Myself ,I don't ride,but I think its a fine thing for those that want to do it and I will be very careful to look out for you,no problem

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Zed 3 years, 6 months ago

Thanks for the positive comments Kathy, refreshing to read them.

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JustSomeJoe 3 years, 5 months ago

Thanks Kathy. Us riders will be looking out for cars too.

I think most of the disgruntled bike posters are generally disgruntled in life, and will gruntle away at whatever is in their line of vision. Most motor vehicle operators are aware of their responsibility to be in control of their motor vehicle at all time. As a driver I must always be prepared to stop for any obstacle that presents itself in the road. It doesn't matter if that obstacle is a pedestrian or a rock or a car turning left or right ahead of me or two road bikers riding two abreast legally. The riders must move back to single file if a car is coming up behind them. It might take a few seconds, try deep breaths.

If you come up on a bike rider or riders, the law (and common sense) requires you to pass safely and give the rider 3 feet clearance. Yes, this means you might have to slow down on a blind curve or when you can't see to pass safely or a car is coming the other way. It will be OK.

As a driver you encounter "inconveniences" to your busy life on the road; hazards, traffic laws and controls, other drivers, bikes, etc. please be prepared for them.

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