Robin Craigen: Keep momentum |

Robin Craigen: Keep momentum

As we look to the skies for snow and reluctantly put away our bikes for winter (most of us), it's a good opportunity to look back and recognize the significance of developments in local cycling as we contemplate new opportunities.

We are very grateful to the Steamboat Pilot & Today for exceptional coverage of bicycle events and issues in our community. Last Sunday's Our View editorial "Pedal to assist cycling-related tourism" capped a great year for Routt County Riders, our community biking group.

2009 Highlights include:

■ Annual Bike Swap where over 60 bikes changed hands

■ Bike to Work Week with daily events promoting biking

■ New Quarry Mountain trail on Emerald Mountain designed and built with more than 240 volunteer work days

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■ Worked with the Routt County Board of Commissioners to develop policies and goals for safer roads

■ Tour de Steamboat road ride event volunteer support

■ Inaugural SmartWool Bike-in-Movie event volunteer support

■ Steamboat Springs Stage Race sponsorship and support

■ Initiated discussions with Steamboat Ski Area and U.S. Forest Service representatives that has resulted in a new Trails Masterplan Initiative for the ski mountain to accommodate proposals for directional trails for free-ride mountain biking

You may not know that Routt County Riders also has:

■ Applied for 501(c)3 status and is establishing a board of directors

■ Created a monthly e-newsletter communicating information about bicycling in our community

■ Spearheaded a "Bicycle Friendly Business" program that will provide greater opportunities for businesses to work with the biking community

■ Submitted applications for a grant to build a new trail on the BLM land swap parcel on Emerald Mountain

■ Submitted a grant for Safe Routes to School funding to create an educational program to encourage greater ridership to school

■ Formed a committee to create a new mountain bike map of our area

■ Is partnering with the city of Steamboat Springs to renew and upgrade our Bicycle Friendly Community status to gold

■ Formed a committee for a Livestrong mountain biking event coming to our area that will benefit Yampa Valley Medical Center

In response to the latest proposal of an economic development initiative to develop Steamboat Springs as an international cycling destination, we are increasingly hearing from community members who have read about or seen our efforts, "How can I help?"

Simple. Become a member of Routt County Riders. 

Together we represent a larger voice for bicyclists and their interests. We bring together a multitude of talented individuals who wish to improve their standard of living. 

If cycling tourism is where this community wishes to go, then we will need a greater voice and community presence than ever before. We have identified a great opportunity that has been successfully adopted by other mountain communities such as Whistler, B.C., that are now at the forefront of biking tourism. We have all the assets that it takes to match or even exceed their success. Additionally, community stakeholders like Steamboat Ski Area and the Forest Service are already at the table. The next steps depend on the community desire for Steamboat Springs to post itself on the map with the credentials to be acknowledged as a world-class cycling destination.

Please join us in keeping the wheels turning.

Robin Craigen

President, Routt County Riders Bicycle Club

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