Spoke Talk: Bike Match beginnings | SteamboatToday.com

Spoke Talk: Bike Match beginnings

Matthew Rochon
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

Steamboat Springs is Bike Town U.S.A, and Routt County Riders Bike Match has dreams of a more integrated and inclusive cycling community. This piece is the first of a three-part series to encourage public discourse about cycling. This Spoke Talk provides an overview of the Bike Match program. In future articles, we’ll discuss ways in which Bike Match aims to meet the needs of our community, and finally, we’ll propose some ideas on the future of Bike Match.

Bike Match is administered by Routt County Riders and a principal aim of Bike Match is to expand access to cycling for those in our community who might not otherwise be able to take advantage of local cycling opportunities. We firmly believe that cycling builds confidence and fitness, expands horizons, and contributes to a stronger community.

As such, we’ve partnered with several organizations with complementary goals. These organizations include the Boys and Girls Club, Partners in Routt County, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and The Cycle Effect. In order to expand the program’s reach, Integrated Community translated our Bike Match request and waiver forms, and now matches are made in both English and Spanish.

We’re on track to meet our goal of matching bikes with 100% of the girls in TCE who requested them, filling 14 total requests. We’ve also matched bicycles to kids through PRC, to athletes participating in the SSWSC summer cycling programs, to BGC youth, and a myriad of others, from college bound teens to families looking to cycle. In total, we’ve matched 36 bicycles and we will match several more before our winter hibernation.

The generosity of our community in donating bicycles has far outpaced the requests for bicycles and we find ourselves limiting the number we can accept due to the lack of a permanent location for Bike Match to store donated parts/bikes and hold maintenance events. In spite of this, our volunteers and donors have made a huge impact, contributing over 50 hours repairing bikes so they are safe and serviceable.

Looking forward to next season, we want to continue to meet our charter of getting more bikes out of garages and people in our community enjoying the fun, freedom, transportation and recreation cycling provides. We also are exploring some exciting initiatives like a moving-art cycling project in cooperation with Steamboat Creates and adding some basic bicycle maintenance classes. All of this is intended to move toward a broader Bike Match vision.

Our vision is to establish a bicycle hub that brings our community closer together. We would like everyone in Routt County to have access to a bicycle, a place to work on it, and the skills and knowledge to do so. Additionally, we see a community bike hub as another place where we can educate riders on cycling rules of the road and trail etiquette, so we can happily share our world-class trails with all trail users.

Matthew Rochon is community outreach program manager with Routt County Riders. He loves living in a community that shares his passion for cycling. If you want to donate, learn more or volunteer, email matthew@routtcountyriders.org.

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