Blogging about the Fort Collins community is a two-part goal on Fresh Air Fort Collins. One is to develop a resource of information for people living here, sharing trail review information, discussing great fly-fishing spots, and a million other different outdoor activities that are possible in Colorado. The other is building a community of like-minded people, where we can share ideas and discuss different styles and challenges that we come across our Colorado rivers and trails – whatever we may be doing.
While I feel like I’m an experienced hiker and camper, and would be able to survive in the wilderness if needed, I am by no means an expert in all things outdoors. I have no business writing about rock climbing, kayaking, and cycling. While I do mountain bike on occasion, and I’ll write about mountain biking trails, it’s going to take a village to cover a lot of the outdoor opportunities available to us.
That’s where Chris comes in! Chris has been a long-time reader on Feasting Fort Collins (the other blog I’m writing in the Scoop Blog Network, and the one that started this whole thing to begin with). We discovered that we went to the same high school in Vegas, although graduating at different years. We connected on Facebook, and Chris had mentioned how he’d enjoy writing about his expertise – cycling in Northern Colorado.
PERFECT! Not only do we get a different perspective to read, but it helps cover details that I’m lacking, and it helps me juggle writing schedules on the different blogs. Chris will be contributing a monthly post on bikes and cycling culture here in Fort Collins.
So, without further ado – here’s his post about his history in cycling and what you can expect to read from him!
I remember the first time I became aware of the blogs that became The Scoop Blog Network. I admired right away that there was someone out there writing about Fort Collins culture in a funny, thoughtful voice- a voice that was distinctly local and genuine, honest yet affectionate, informal yet informed.
So when the opportunity arose to be a part of this crew I was delighted. I have been writing about bikes as long as I have been riding them, and in media as varied and the bikes themselves. But so much of what I’ve written over time has be serving some other interest: promoting a race, marketing a team, reviewing of a shiny new toy, fighting for rights or justice. I knew that by joining the Scoop I would have a chance to join in a conversation, to be a conductor, to build relationships with the community.
First lets rewind: I was an artsy kid. I was much more likely to pose in front of the mirror with a guitar and a pout than in a jersey with a ball. Subpar hand eye coordination and reflexes relegated me to the last few rounds in PE team sports drafts. Pursuits like music and theatre, while satisfying and ultimately the seeds of a fruitful career, meant I gravitated towards cigarettes and alcohol rather than complex carbs and monounsaturated fats. I was anxious and moody and rarely slept well, but I’d never known anything different.
The rock bottom moment of enlightenment is a long story, suited for its own entry. But sufficed to say in my mid 20s, I discovered cycling. First out of necessity, to get to a job that was not well served by Chicago’s otherwise impressive public transportation network. Gradually this functional concession to urban life started to change me in ways physical and psychological. I have subsequently learned that this experience is common among those who discover the bike as adults. Many of us have barely suppressed evangelical fervor lurking just below the surface, waiting for the slightest excuse to unleash The Good News on innocent bystanders unlucky enough to bring up bikes. Most of us will tell you: cycling saved our lives.
In the years hence, I’ve commuted (car free) through the most challenging winter weather. I’ve slung a messenger bag across my back and as an urban courier, I’ve ridden scores of remote and challenging passes in the rockies and beyond, I’ve raced as a category 2 roadie, and I’ve organized and supported a number of races and charity rides including last year’s Northern Colorado stage of the USA Pro Challenge, for which I was the stage planner and technical co-chair.
All of which is to say, I have stories to tell and experience that I hope will help people avoid repeating my mistakes, make informed decisions, and overcome fears and excuses that keep them from riding. Or riding further. Or riding harder. Or just riding more.
I have a ton of ideas bubbling around that I’m excited to share: I went to Interbike, one of the biggest bike trade shows in the world, and I’m excited about industry developments. Like a lot of you, I am a former competitive athlete who’s struggling a bit to find inspiration and motivation to stay fit. I hope we can work together to stay engaged and active.
And finally, there is at least one big frontier of cycling I’ve yet to explore. I’ve never spent time on a mountain bike out on the trails, and I am hoping to use this column as an excuse to dive in to a new experience, to be open to a (literally and figuratively) steep new learning curve, to get beat up in new ways. My hope is some of you out there will help with tips and advice and others will be similarly inspired and keep me company. I hope to be moved by the Scoop Blog Network to take on new challenges and share the outcomes on Fresh Air Fort Collins, good and bad.
But mostly I want to celebrate and explore Northern Colorado and Fort Collins and all of the bike culture that define them: the routes, the personalities, the politics, the races, the shops, the builders, the secret tips and tricks, the bike friendly watering holes…
I’ve always believed that what makes the Fort Collins bike scene special, and distinct from any other, is that among roadies, dirtbags, beginners, fixie hipsters, retrogrouches, safety nerds, college kids, “court appointed cyclists”, we recognize that the passion that unites us is bigger and stronger than the factionalism that divides other great bike towns. It’s the same spirit that guides the Scoop. Like the bike scene here, the Scoop is homegrown, built by locals who are invested and committed to growing something from the grassroots. And I’m excited for the chance to bring them together.