STARS wants people to pedal for a purpose in Bike the Boat event | SteamboatToday.com

STARS wants people to pedal for a purpose in Bike the Boat event

Riders leave the start-finish line at the 2015 Biking the Boat Charity Bike Ride. The event is held every year as a fundraiser for STARS programs.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports Bike the Boat event is a unique addition to the Steamboat Bike Fest on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Now in its eighth year, Bike the Boat encourages cyclists to pedal for a purpose, raising money for STARS, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides equipment and scholarship programs for people with disabilities to participate in adapted outdoor activities. Some of those activities include ski lessons, biking, therapeutic horseback riding, cycling, kayaking and adaptive physical education programs in schools.

The ride will offer three distance options for cyclists of any level.

"It's a good complement this weekend with the Bike Fest going on," STARS Executive Director Julie Taulman said. "It's being able to show all-ability riding in our community, and we are open to everyone, not just people that are able-bodied."

The five-mile option is an out-and-back ride along the Yampa River Core Trail starting at 11 a.m. in West Lincoln Park. For cyclists wanting longer or more challenging rides, there's a 55-mile option starting at 8:30 a.m. that follows the iconic "Three Witches" route that goes through Oak Creek and Stagecoach and back into town. The 20-mile option, which starts at 10 a.m., will go halfway up that route and back. No road closures will take place.

So far, 175 riders have signed up, and Taulman expects to have 200 riders by Saturday. This year, the ride will also welcome a large group of injured veterans and their families from the Warrior Transition Unit in Colorado Springs.

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The fundraising goal for Bike the Boat is $50,000, and currently, more than $43,000 has been raised. The long-term goal is to continue to grow this ride every year so STARS can set aside funds for new scholarship programs to bring kids and their families to Steamboat at its new ranch, a $5.6 million dollar project that broke ground Sept. 5 and is expected to be finished by the end of summer 2019.

People can also sign up online as virtual riders to help with the fundraising if they are unable to participate with the bike ride, but online registration as a cyclist or virtual rider concludes at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6.

After that, prospective participants can register from noon to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7 at Christy Sports at Central Park or arrive at West Lincoln Park 30 minutes prior to the ride distance start time to see if there are openings.

"The difference again is pedal for a purpose," Taulman said. "If you're going to go out and ride this weekend and experience cycling in Steamboat, then people will pedal for a purpose — not only go out and ride, but do something good for our local charity."

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email lvann@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.

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