Steamboat Springs Routt County Riders is another step closer to making singletrack trail building more efficient, cost effective and plentiful this summer and beyond.
The organization recently made a deposit on the Single Track 240, a one-of-a-kind trail dozer that Routt County Riders’ leaders strongly think will change mountain biking in the region.
With the help of a few private financial backers to float a loan and a fundraising match offer by Yampa Valley Bank, Routt County Riders was able to front a significant chunk of the cost of the $100,000 unit.
Last week, Yampa Valley Bank agreed to match as much as $12,500 of Routt County Riders’ dollars raised by May 31 as part of the organization’s new fundraising campaign.
“The machine is supposed to be finished at the end of April, and if we can match the money, then we can finalize the loan and make sure we get that as soon as possible,” Routt County Riders Vice President Eric Meyer said, adding that the county’s snow was melting fast. “Hopefully, the first week of May.”
In mid-December, Steamboat Springs City Council decided against backing Routt County Riders’ loan request. The nonprofit organization approached City Council with a $15,000 commitment toward the ST240 and the backing of Alpine Bank, which was expected to front the remainder. Alpine Bank, however, wanted someone to back the loan.
But Meyer said the loan’s new private backers were a positive, “no-strings-attached” way of getting the piece of equipment.
Meyer hopes to have the donations matched by mid-April.
The nonprofit is confident that the piece of equipment — though expensive to build — will produce immediate positives in the community.
Routt County Riders members Aryeh Copa and Marc Sehler traveled to Oregon in January to test the equipment and returned with rave reviews of not only the ST240 but also the company that manufactures it.
“It’s an enormous factory, and that machine is part of 1 percent of their business,” Copa said. “They produce a lot of big, high-tech machinery. They can produce any part within 24 hours and have it shipped in 48.”
Meyer and Copa said the machine is built to last — overbuilt, even — and that major damage or repairs were unlikely in its inaugural years.
The ST240 also is remote-control capable from 150 feet away, allowing experienced trail builders such as Copa to take the equipment deeper into the country. It also is specially designed, Copa said, to blaze trails 24 to 36 inches wide without disturbing the surrounding area.
“Ideally, it will make any trails we’re working on go much quicker and much less expensive,” Copa said. “We’ll require a lot less labor and follow-up. The finish work will be much, much easier with this machine.”
Meyer said the ST240 has been used in California for a few years and that only a couple hundred dollars in repair costs have been needed.
In order to get the equipment in and out of trail-building areas, Copa said, Routt County Riders has resources such as trucks and trailers available, but the nonprofit eventually would be on the market for its own transportation equipment.
He added that a Rokon motorcycle would be on the organization’s wish list to help get operators, tools and/or fuel in and out of projects the ST240 is working on.
Meyer also didn’t rule out the idea of potentially renting out the piece of equipment in the future to help swing its costs.
But for now, Routt County Riders is excited for the ST240’s potential and to break ground on trails this summer.
“I’m super excited,” Copa said. “I’ve been hand-building trails for years, but I’ve never built with a machine that was specifically designed for building trail. We’ve used mini dozers and things like that, but this thing really will get the job done.”
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll
Join the Yampa Valley VIP email club