We have had a busy summer so far. Our crew has built nearly 20 miles of trail and maintained many more! Here are some fun photos from the field:
Trail Etiquette 101
As we roll our way into the height of summer, now is a good time to remember our trail manners. It can be frustrating when you expect your ride to be a certain way, and then an interaction with another trail user turns your day sour. Somebody once said, “You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel.” When others lack trail etiquette, use the interaction to respectfully educate them through words or by example.
To refresh you, here are the International Mountain Bike Association’s (IMBA) rules of the trail:
- Ride Open Trails
Respect trail closures due to conditions, wildlife, special events and more. This may require you to use your best judgment. There may not be a “closed” sign immediately after a rainstorm, so if your eyeballs indicate to you that there is mud on the trails, please stay off of them.
- Leave No Trace
Do not cut switchbacks, do not use closed trails, do not ride around standing water on the trail. When yielding, please keep your tire tread on the trail and let the other user pass. When you pull off the trail, you are damaging plants and habitat. Always pick up litter.
- Control Your Bicycle
Ride within your limits. Know the conditions. Saturday afternoon on Emerald might not be the best time to work on a Strava record. Many social conflicts often occur when riders are going too fast. Save the “sending” for directional, bike-specific trails.
- Yield Appropriately
Give people a head’s up–this can be a friendly greeting or a bell. But remember that these notifications are not a hall pass to fly by them. If the person does not hear you, please be courteous. [Quick fact: headphones keep you from hearing other people]. Mountain bikers yield to all other trail users, and downhill riders always yield to uphill users.
- Never Scare Animals
Give horses room and time to see you. It is best to stop and dismount from your bike. Always ask the rider what is best for their horse. If you encounter wildlife, please give them space. It can be a serious offense to disturb wildlife. Please contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife for information on how to co-recreate with elk, bear, mountain lions, moose and Sasquatch.
- Plan Ahead
Have a map, a plan and be a self-sufficient rider. Be prepared for bee stings, going over the bars, snakebites (both real and in regards to your tube), an afternoon downpour, your bonking buddy, losing track of daylight and any other potential ride chaos.
Whether you are a local or a visitor, please do your best to remember that everyone on the trail is trying to have a good time, just like you. If someone is not following these rules, your respect and patience is appreciated far more than an outburst. It can be hard to share, but most of us made it past the age of three, so we can figure it out. Be kind, safe, and most importantly—have fun.
Kelly Northcutt is a Steamboat native, mountain bike guide and Administrator for Routt County Riders
At 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 30, the Routt County Commissioners will decide whether or not to keep County Road 18C open to the public. Last month, the Planning Commission’s recommendation to the County Commissioners was to only close that portion of 18C which extends beyond the bridge over the Yampa. It is still in the County Commissioners’ hands to decide the fate of the portion of 18C that we all use and love.
It’s imperative that we have a strong showing on May 30. We need to attend en masse in order to convince our County Commissioners to keep 18C open. Their focus has been on saving money and they have not been personally exposed to our feedback other than through emails. Your presence at this meeting is the most effective tool we have to convince the Commissioners that their constituents want this road to remain open to the public. If we have minimal representation at the meeting, I am afraid the fate of CR 18C will be sealed.
Please plan on attending and let your voice be heard during the public comments portion of the meeting. And please call two friends who use 18C and encourage them to attend as well. Here are the meeting details:
Routt County Commissioners’ Meeting
Tuesday, May 30, 1:30 p.m.
Historic Routt County Courthouse
5th and Lincoln, 2nd Floor
Thanks in advance for your attendance. Let’s all stand up and be counted in our ongoing quest to keep 18C open!
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.