Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Show me the ride: Nocturnal circus of bikes promotes good cause

By David Pico - Special to The Gazette Published: May 9, 2013 0

It's time to get serious about our cycling tans because a ghostly complexion would be an embarrassment when the group rides reach their limit.

One of the larger rides in Colorado Springs is slated for June 15. Starlight Spectacular, the annual fundraiser for the Trails and Open Space Coalition, returns for its 19th year. The fun ride, which is sponsored by Heuberger Subaru, takes nearly 1,500 riders, many in costume, through Garden of Gods and along city streets under the stars.

Proceeds from the event benefit the ground on which we ride. In two years, TOSC has trained more than 60 crew leaders for trail maintenance and restoration projects, a glaring need after recent budget cuts. Every weekend from May to October, volunteers are equipped with a garden tool and sent into the hills to work on trails.

'The city budget cuts forced us to adopt a different approach to our trails, ' program director Vince Cloward said. 'The crew leader training program is fairly unique from other cities. '

This year, some money raised at the Starlight Spectacular will go toward funding an economic impact study that will present city leaders with statistics that highlight the economic boost that bicycling treads on the Springs.

'The study is going to leverage clear numbers to encourage more budget space for cycling infrastructure, ' said Eileen Healy, office coordinator for TOSC.

The infrastructure would include urban trails, bike lanes and bike corrals - both installation and repairs. City innovation and sustainability manager Nick Kittle said the first corral 'was backed into by a motorist. '

The Starlight Spectacular is popular because it's a nocturnal circus with you as the main act. More than 60 percent of participants return to ride each year.

Local tinkerer Cory Sutela of SRAM even has designed a futuristic contraption for the event: a street-legal, pedal-powered, levitated lounge, and he will be serving up root beers in the parking lot.

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Pico is the former president/publisher of Peak Region Cyclist. Read his columns on the second Thursday of each month in Out There.

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