Meet the Fat Bike Winter Grooming Challenge from Yampa Valley Bank! Do you want groomed trails to ride your fat bike? Here’s the answer! Yampa Valley Bank has generously offered to donate $2088 to Routt County Riders for winter grooming on Emerald. This is a matching challenge, so we as a biking community need to match or exceed that amount! The city doesn’t have the equipment or the budget to groom NPR or Prayer Flag Road. If you want to ride these during the winter (or if you like to ski or snowshoe on those trails), please donate using the Yampa Valley Gives link on the RCR page today! We need fuel, groomer modifications, and a newer, wide track snowmobile in order to continue the grooming effort. (We also accept in-kind donations.) The deadline to meet the challenge is February 13th, but don’t wait until the last minute. Give today, so you can ride all winter!
Colorado Gives Day is Dec 6th! This is a great date to donate to RCR, since your dollars count toward additional donations from the Colorado Gives incentive fund. Community First Foundation and FirstBank are each contributing $500,000 to create a $1 Million Incentive Fund, one of the largest gives-day incentive funds in the country. At the completion of Colorado Gives Day, the Foundation will determine each nonprofit’s proportionate share of the incentive fund by dividing the total amount each charity raised by the total amount of donations to all participating nonprofits. This amount will then be multiplied by the total amount of dollars in the Incentive Fund. Also, Yampa Valley Community Foundation is covering all credit card fees (normally 2%) for donations received on Colorado Gives Day. Maximize your giving, and do it on the 6th! Click on the green Colorado Gives link to the right!
Come join us at Highline Lake State Park in Fruita(Loma) Colorado for our annual fall bike trip. The weather is looking perfect to enjoy the fun trails around Fruita. Everyone is welcome and we hope to see you there.
What is an e-Bike? Well, “e” is short for electric; it’s a bike equipped with an electric motor to lessen pedal resistance and “assist” the rider. With falling prices and improving technology, their popularity is increasing.
The e-bike categorization of class 1-4 system appears to becoming the standard, but definitions currently still vary between land managers and even between different documents guiding the same land manager.
- Class 1 e-bikes are pedal assist only. The electric drive system on the bike must be activated through a pedaling action and is limited to 20 mph.
- Class 2 e-bikes are “Throttle on Demand”, where the electric drive system can be activated using a throttle and has the same top speed as Class 1.
- Class 3 e-bikes are known as “Speed Pedelec” and have a throttle element capable of powering the rider up to 20 mph on motor power, or up to 28 mph if the rider is also pedaling.
- Class 4 e-bikes are grouped with mopeds and motorcycles. The electric drive system can be activated through pedaling or throttle and may exceed 28 mph.
How might these bikes impact cycling in Routt County? We, as the local bicycle advocacy organization, get more and more questions about electric bicycles. We answer as best we can, but ultimately it is the land manager (City of Steamboat, Routt County, BLM, USFS) who are responsible for setting, communicating and enforcing policy on e-bikes
Some residents in Steamboat often live up a hill that might negate riding home. With an e-bike, it makes that hill just a bit easier. Errands become a little easier with an e-bike. Older riders or people coming back from injury might find an e-bike a welcome addition.
Locally, most trails around Steamboat are on public lands. In addition to the federal, state and local regulations, some of the public lands also have conservation easements that place additional requirements on specific properties.
The US Forest Service classifies e-bikes as motor vehicles. So, e-bikes are not allowed in non-motorized areas. The State of Colorado has an opt in/out policy on local trails and sidewalks. A local jurisdiction may either opt in to allow them on trails or opt out on sidewalks. Steamboat Springs has a ban that applies to wheeled devices on downtown sidewalks only between Yampa and Oak and between 3rd and 13th. That includes bicycles and e-bikes.
Obviously, riders of any type of bike are responsible for knowing where they are permitted. Do your research and know where you can ride. Don’t assume that all areas (especially trails) are open. As we learn more about and get better clarification on e-bike policies, we will post them on our website.
Routt County Riders is the local source for grassroots advocacy and information for all types of cycling. If you would like to help or would like more info, please contact us at facebook.com/rcriders, routtcountyriders.org or email email@example.com.
Alan Perkins is a Routt County Riders board member and volunteer.
How do you use your bike? What kind of bike is it? Here in Steamboat, you see a big cross section: older steel road bikes, ultralight carbon road bikes, really old vintage road bikes, cruisers, hybrids, comfort bikes, old mountain bikes, shiny new full suspension mountain bikes, fat bikes and everything in between. I haven’t seen any bamboo frames in town, but there’s probably at least one hiding somewhere nearby! Most of us use our bikes for recreation and fitness, whether that’s a casual ride on the Core Trail or grinding up Rabbit Ears Pass.
But bikes aren’t just toys. They’re a useful tool. Bikes are a great transport option, especially for short distances, and you can carry a surprising amount on them. Maybe the idea of biking to work or for errands intrigues you, but you’re a little nervous about how to make that happen? Start with small trips on routes you know well and are comfortable riding. The Core Trail is a great resource for getting from one side of town to the other, so that you aren’t biking in traffic the entire trip. Try just going to the movies or biking to dinner. As you gain confidence, see where else you can ride to. Summer is a great time to expand your options!
Almost any bike can be used as a commuter ride, and all you might need is a backpack for a change of clothes or your lunch. If you want to haul more, a rear rack with baskets or panniers will make a huge difference. I can manage to tote up to three full grocery bags of food home, as long as the third bag has items that are light and somewhat rigid. A front rack adds even more cargo capacity. There are specific cargo bikes which will allow you to carry more groceries, bulkier objects or even small children. Bike trailers are also available, although probably overkill for daily use.
If your drive to work is a little longer than you care to ride twice in one day, try driving to work in the morning, bringing your bike with you and extra clothes for the next day. Bike home that night. The next day, ride to work and then drive home with your bike at the end of the day. Repeat as desired! Or drive part of the way. We have friends who sometimes drive to town, park at Stockbridge and then bike the rest of the way. They get to change up their journey and spend some relaxing time together. You can also use our great local bus system to extend your commute range without overextending your ride. Steamboat Springs’ transit is great about accommodating cyclists! The buses have bike racks so you can bike to a bus line, load your bike, relax for a few miles and then ride the final distance to your destination. All for FREE.
Front and rear lights are helpful if you’ll be riding in dim lighting conditions, and obviously reflective trim or vests make you more visible. If your route includes riding on the street, make sure you ride predictably and follow all the rules of the road. The more you behave like a car, the easier it is for drivers to work with you. When it’s wet outside, consider adding fenders. They really make a huge difference in your commute!
Biking on errands is a great way to get in a short workout as well as add fun to those mundane trips. You also get great parking since you can always get much closer to the door and can lock your bike almost anywhere. Traffic jam on Lincoln Avenue? Not on the Core Trail! You can skim along the river when everyone else is stuck at the red light on 3rd Street. And the next light. And the light after that. Or while others are circling for a parking spot on Yampa Street, you pedal up to the front door and hop off the bike. If you need more reasons to feel good about riding in town, remember that your carbon emissions are zero, and you’re actually reducing the size of the traffic jams by not being in your car. Get on your bike and use it to make your life easier!
Routt County Riders is the local source for grassroots advocacy and information for all types of cycling, be it road, gravel, trail, dirt jump or BMX. If you need help or advice, contact us. Find us at facebook.com/rcriders, routtcountyriders.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holly Weik is a Routt County Riders board member and volunteer.
Routt County Riders is revving up fat bike trail grooming on Emerald! RCR has received approval from the City of Steamboat Springs again this year to winter groom a limited number of trails on Emerald Mountain for fat biking. The trail crew has been grooming since late December and is focusing on the new directional trail that opened last fall, No Pedaling Required (NPR), which parallels a good portion of Blackmere Drive. This is one of, if not the first, bike specific directional flow trails regularly groomed in the winter for fat biking, to the best of our knowledge.
Additionally, we’ve partnered with the Steamboat Springs Nordic Council to use its snowmobile and groomer to groom Prayer Flag Road, and we also hope to add single track loops in the Meadows area as time and budget allows. We are looking for interested parties to help snowshoe pack Lupine to get a base trail formed.
Emerald’s trails usually ride great a day after grooming or after a few days without snow, but they are constantly changing with use, temperature changes and new snow so ride with caution. Trails will soften up a bit or become un-ridable with fresh snow, so riders are urged to understand the impacts of their tires and follow IMBA best practice guidelines while riding.
Beyond Emerald Mountain there are many other places to ride, but fat bikers are reminded to follow the rules set by the land managers. For more information on other riding areas click here. Routt County Riders will update our Emerald Mountain grooming efforts here.
For more information, to volunteer or provide comments email email@example.com.
Following are other helpful links:
- City of Steamboat Springs updates its grooming report here.
- Steamboat Springs Nordic Council updates trail conditions here.
- Routt Powder Riders grooms trails on Rabbit Ears Pass and the conditions can be found here.
Because of the speed difference between snowmobiles and bike, when bikers hear snowmobiles approaching they should exercise extreme caution. Snowmobilers cannot hear bikers and might not see them right away. Those who use snowmobile trails should consider donating to Routt Powder Riders’ grooming efforts.
A milestone is upon us: The first ever user-specific trail on Emerald Mountain has opened! This bike-only, downhill-only trail is like nothing else on the mountain.
“NPR,” which stands for No Pedaling Required, is an intermediate flow trail. With more than 100 features including berms, rollers, table-top jumps and double rollers that can be jumped, the trail is 1.75 miles of downhill excitement.
The trail is very smooth and the features are all roll-able so it can be ridden by almost any level of rider on just about any style of bike, from a BMX to a 29er. If you’re new to flow trails, heed the following advice:
Lower your seat and stand on your pedals. Lowering your seat increases your feeling of control and traction as you lower your center of gravity “into” the bike, and it allows you to get more suspension from your arms and legs. Standing on your pedals means staying out of the saddle. Sit when climbing, but when descending your weight should be distributed evenly on your pedals.
Resist the urge to sit down. It’s game on – no time to sit! You’ll be able to react to the diverse terrain much more effectively if you stay on your feet.
Look ahead. Head up, eyes forward. Look as far down the trail as you can as you barrel down the dirt roller coaster.
Let your arms and legs absorb and “pump” the rollers – these four tools that we’re all equipped with provide far more suspension than any bike.
Why a directional trail on Emerald? Directional trails reduce user conflict and promote safety by providing alternate downhill-only access for trail users. Rightfully so, Emerald is one of our town’s most popular biking amenities. It’s not uncommon to see double digit numbers of cyclists on your typical ride. Going down, that can mean a lot of on-again, off-again as a cyclist yields or is yielded to. Those bikers who like to ride a continuous, uninterrupted, fast and fun descent will love NPR because all the traffic will be bikes and all will be going the same way – down. Other trail users may notice markedly less downhill cycling traffic on certain Emerald trails as a result. That’s a win-win!
Routt County Riders was awarded the bid for trail construction by the City. Trail building began July 27 utilizing Routt County Riders’ ST240 trail dozer, mini excavators, a skid steer, plate compactors, a water tank with battery powered sprayer and many hands and hand tools. Two months later, the completed trail starts below the last switchback of Blackmere Drive before the Quarry overlook and continues down until near the top of the Howelsen Hill chairlift.
Over the next several weeks, Routt County Riders will continue to monitor and adjust the trail as rains and riders pack it out. Let us know what you think after you’ve given it a whirl – share your feedback on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rcriders or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in Steamboat Today on Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Written by Wendy Tucciarone, Routt County Riders member, volunteer and the club’s administrator.