Riders work in tandem to complete Tour de Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — “It’s the year of 66,” Melinda Middleton said.
Middleton and her husband, John, both 66 years old, paused at an aid station by Stagecoach Reservoir part way through the 66-mile ride of the Tour de Steamboat on Saturday, July 20. They both wore light blue and purple jerseys with Mickey and Minnie Mouse on the front, which nearly matched their blue and green tandem bike.
“Our shirts have to match, our socks have to match and ideally, our whole outfit matches our bike,” Melinda Middleton said. “Our bike is pretty spectacular.”
The two from Golden rode the Tour de Steamboat two years ago with a group of people riding tandems and loved it so much, they returned.
“We just enjoy riding tandem. We’ve met lots of really good people. The whole cycling community in general is just a good place to be, to be outside, to be doing something physically.”
Matt Tobler, 49, and his son Bryce, 8, also rode a tandem, but not in the traditional style. The back bike was attached simply by the body and not a chain.
“It’s nice because he can ride box stop with me, but he’s not forced to maintain my pedal stroke,” Matt Tobler said. “He can’t keep my cadence for 40 miles, but he can coast and rest.”
With that in mind, Bryce said his favorite part of biking is, “all the hills and stuff.”
The two have been riding tandem for about four years and have competed in other rides, but never the Tour de Steamboat.
“We like to come to Steamboat once a year,” Matt Tobler said. “We hadn’t been out this way in a while, and I thought it looked like a really nice ride.”
‘Philanthropy by bicycle’
Like the Middletons, jerseys were a form of expression and identity during Saturday’s scenic ride and they seemed to center around one thing.
“Our motto is philanthropy by bicycle,” Denver native Kim Blair said.
The 61-year-old is part of the OUTspokin’ biking group, which had members riding the Tour de Steamboat. She said they also regularly ride the Courage Classic to support the Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Also riding the 66-mile ride, or metric century, was 55-year-old Ben Pope. He chose to wear a red and white shirt that read ‘Heart Cycle’ across the front.
“It was started as a medical study about 30 years ago to look at the effects of cycling on cardiac health,” Pope said. “After the clinical trial was done, the club stayed in place. It’s a nonprofit volunteer group, and they do cycling all over the world.”
Julie Pope, 55, wore a simple blue jersey that matched her road bike, but enjoyed that what jersey someone is wearing serves as a conversation starter.
Betsy Deichmeister donned a jersey from the 2012 Mission to Ride in Montrose.
“They don’t do the ride anymore. It supported the medical mission for people that have no medical insurance in Montrose,” the 60-year-old said.
Repping the local biking group, dozens were spotted wearing jerseys with the Routt County Riders logo across the front, including 67-year-old Dennis Houska, who bounces between Fort Collins and Steamboat Springs.
Houska said he bought his bike in Steamboat a year ago, which was how he heard about the tour.
“I’ve done a lot of long distance, but riding with a group is a lot of fun,” Houska said. “You get to know people. It’s a real social thing.”
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