NOCO BIKING—Races, Education, Changes

Kids preparing to do the Lory Mountain Challenge. Photo Credit: Tessa Greegor FCBikes

By : Chris Johnson

Lory Mountain Challenge

Fort Collins bike culture has a lot going for it and one of our coolest bragging points is our Tuesday night racing. These family friendly local races run every week from early spring to late fall, and offer free kids categories and cheap grown up racing with events for every ability level and nary a whiff of the lycra and race face attitude you risk in other scenes. That’s a point of pride to local organizers like Your Group Ride and Ciclismo Youth Foundation, the latter of whom are hosting their annual Lory Mountain Challenge races on Tuesday nights in August.

The Lory series are cross country mountain bike events where you’ll find everything from local pros to the most adorable bunch of wee ones duking it out in the dirt. Visit yourgroupride.com for more, including start times and registration information.

Women & LGBTQ Wrenching Nights

No Less an authority than Susan B Anthony once said: “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.  stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

Despite this, count after count suggests that even in a city as bike friendly and active as Fort Collins, men outnumber women by nearly 2 to 1 on our trails and bike lanes. There are lots of theories why, but one oft-cited challenge is feeling uncomfortable with maintenance and lacking a supportive comfortable environment to learn.

The Fort Collins Bike Coop works to smash this barrier with its Women’s and LGBTQ Wrenching Nights, that offer an attitude free setting to learn bike maintenance and repair with and from other women in a relaxed social setting (did I mention Horse and Dragon Brewing provides beer? Yup. Visit the Coop’s Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/FortCollinsBikeCoOp for upcoming dates and more information.

Mason Bike Lanes

If your bike commute takes you through Old Town, you might have noticed that the Mason corridor from campus north to the Discovery Center got a pretty significant makeover in July. The Addition last year of the MAX Bus Rapid Transit System marked the beginning of the city’s effort to transform Mason into an “Enhanced Travel Corridor”the first of its kind in Northern Colorado. But it also added congestion to an already bustling bike route.

The next upgrade came last month when the city added striped and marked bike lanes, a major safety improvement over the previously existing sharrows. Bike Lanes perform two roles on roads like Mason. The first, more obvious function is defining and limiting space for bikes, but perhaps more importantly, they define and limit space for cars†And there’s an abundance of evidence that narrower lanes curb speeding and encourage drivers to pay attention.

The new bike lanes are just one more phase in a longer-term plan, that sustainability advocates hope will shift parking away from Mason entirely over time. But for now, there are still a few blocks on the corridor where cyclists have to beware the “door zone”. As a cyclist, you’re well within your rights to signal and move into the main travel lane if you judge it safer. But we’re excited that the city continues to transform the way we get around Fort Collins.

*Chris J Johnson is the Executive Director of Bike Fort Collins, Northern Colorado’s oldest and largest bicycle advocacy group, who’s vision is:  “more bikes, safe streets, one voice” for Northern Colorado.

www.bikefortcollins.org for more.

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