Spoke Talk: What is Routt County Riders?

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Routt County Riders, the largest and most active bike club in Northwest Colorado, was founded in 1991. The club’s mission is to unite bicyclists in Steamboat Springs and Routt County through trails, roads and pathways; education; and events with the goal of creating a fun, healthy and safe bicycle-friendly community. In 2012, Routt County Riders became an International Mountain Biking Association chapter. The IMBA affiliation gives Routt County Riders the benefit of a variety of administrative resources, skill sets and national and international marketing that would not otherwise be available to us because we are a small, volunteer-driven organization.

What do we do?

One of Routt County Riders’ main functions is to be visible and be the voice of the local cycling community in matters that involve road and trail use by bicycles. We advocate for trails at the local, state and national levels. The current accommodations tax proposal by the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance is a notable example of Routt County Riders’ involvement. We buy tools and materials and use club volunteers to build and take care of multiuse trails. On our own and by supporting larger organizations, such as Bicycle Colorado, we advocate for safe roads for pleasure riding, commuting and riding to school. By participating on the county’s multimodal advisory committee, the club has worked to achieve bike-friendly lane widths and road surfaces on city and county roads. The Share the Road program and the “sharrows” (share-the-road arrows painted on some of our streets) resulted from that participation. Routt County Riders also helps fund the Safe Routes to School program as well as scholarships for youth cycling development including participation in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cycling program.

Where does the money come from?

Routt County Riders funding comes from four main sources: memberships, Routt County Riders jersey sales, fundraisers and grants. Annual memberships, which also include IMBA membership, costs $30 for an individual and $50 for a family with the funds split between IMBA and Routt County Riders. Membership benefits include discounts on club jerseys as well as discounts on a new Subaru, cycling gear and insurance through IMBA. Routt County Riders club jerseys are designed every two years and are financed by selling advertising spaces on the jerseys. Proceeds from jersey sales constitute a significant portion of Routt County Riders’ budget. Beginning this year, Kent Eriksen Cycles will donate proceeds from the Tour de Steamboat (as well as the preride dinner and silent auction) to four local organizations, including Routt County Riders. Earlier this year, the group sought and won a grant from Bell helmets that will be used to complete the Bear River Bike Park.

Who runs the show?

Routt County Riders is governed by a board of directors, which includes nine volunteers with varied backgrounds and stations in the community. Several committees, including the active trails committee, report to the board. The club seeks to have a diverse board that represents a variety of viewpoints, provides solid directions and makes prudent decisions. Our monthly board meetings are open, and members often attend and provide input. More information, including how to become a member, is available at www.routtcountyriders.org and www.imba.com.

Paul Matheny serves on the board of Routt County Riders. He can be reached at jpmatheny@gmail.com.

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