Biking the Boat goes beyond Steamboat Springs for virtual fundraiser
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports — STARS — is already good at adapting. So, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, STARS was able to alter its annual Biking the Boat fundraiser to allow it to continue despite gathering limits.
The fundraising event and ride has been going on since Sept. 19 and concludes Sunday. Participants can ride wherever they like, even outside of Steamboat Springs. Since anyone anywhere can partake, the ride was renamed Biking the Boat and Beyond.
“The race has been going on for a decade, and it’s really meant to be this great community gathering and it’s not a real competitive bike race by any means,” STARS Development Director Susan Petersen said. “It’s more of getting everybody together and crossing the finish line and shining a spotlight on how important it is to have sports for people with disabilities. I’m sad that we couldn’t do it this year.”
Thankfully, the virtual version seems to be doing well. As of Friday afternoon, nearly $42,000 of STARS’ $70,000 goal had been raised. Donations can still be made, whether in support of a specific team or not. Last year, the fundraiser brought in a record $77,069.
Anyone who raises $250 receives a Biking the Boat and Beyond jersey, and the top fundraisers earn prizes. As of Friday, the SB Men of Gravel team was leading with more than $14,000 raised.
Participants have been logging their miles on Strava, which appears in a leaderboard on the STARS Biking the Boat site.
STARS Executive Director Gardner Flanigan has been leading by example, logging many miles on the Strava app.
“I think as a leader of an organization, it’s important to demonstrate that I am just as enthusiastic and passionate about what we do as anyone,” he said. “I want to be visible doing that. I have been going on some rides. I’m not a huge cyclist, but I like getting out there and getting a workout in.”
Flanigan and the STARS staff embarked on a group ride Monday, pedaling from the STARS Ranch just south of town, up the Yampa River Core Trail to the library and back.
“We waved to people and said, ‘Oh, we’re the STARS team,’” Petersen said. “It was kind of fun, with a little camaraderie.”
The camaraderie is really all it’s been about. Like the Tour de Steamboat, Biking the Boat is all about enjoying a bike ride in beautiful Steamboat with likeminded people. In the past, ride lengths have varied from 5 to 55 miles. With no specific time or place to ride this year, Biking the Boat is truly for everyone.
Participants have been encouraged to post photos of their ride to the STARS Facebook or Instagram pages, especially since the best costume and most creative ride win prizes. Riders can post using the hashtags #bikingtheboat2020 or #pedalforapurpose.
“We provide adaptive recreational activities for local youth that have disabilities and I think people see that. I think they feel really proud about what we do and how we empower and enrich lives,” Flanigan said. “This event is the 10th annual event. It’s a fun way to come together as a community and get outside and enjoy the outdoors and raise some funds for STARS to provide scholarships and equipment.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.