Where I grew up, bowling was physical activity, ice-fishing in a shanty was considered an endurance sport and winning a pie or hot dog eating contest gave you bragging rights. Then I moved to this place where people run up and down mountains and hard-core athletes do the Incline multiple times in a day. We’re just different out here!

On June 15, you’ll have the opportunity to do something very different: take a bike ride under the stars with 1,000 other local cyclists. It’s the 25th annual Starlight Spectacular! It is more than just a silver anniversary of a long-standing tradition and great, family-oriented community event. This night-time bicycle ride through the Garden of the Gods, downtown Colorado Springs, Old Colorado City and finally back to the Garden of the Gods Visitors Center has created a lot of outstanding memories throughout the years. It’s a unique adventure, a chance to see the crown jewel of the Colorado Springs Parks system by starlight. Friends and families form teams, compete for best costumes and best illuminated bikes. The Starlight has led to unforgettable experiences in this quarter of a century of pedaling. But all those participants down through the years may not have realized how much this event has meant to the overall health of our parks and trails. All that churning of pedals has cranked out a lot of support for the Trails and Open Space Coalition.

The coalition has helped preserve and protect open space across the region. Friends groups count on the coalition to promote their projects and provide volunteer and Board assistance. Neighbors looking to make a difference in their ailing park know the coalition will have their backs when they advocate for improvements. And Bike Colorado Springs, a program of the Trails and Open Space Coalition is committed to making cycling safer for people of all ages and abilities.

Come out and ride. Be part of the communities largest and oldest bike event and create a poignant summer memory. And know you are contributing to a vision in which our excellent trails, parks and open spaces become even better.

Susan Davies is executive director of the 30-year-old Trails and Open Space Coalition. Send any questions and comments to susan@trailsandopenspaces.org.

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