This summer, you might have seen some cyclists in flashy blue kits cruising down the local singletrack or cranking up to the Maroon Bells. There’s a good chance it was a member of the Aspen Cycling Club. This community-powered, volunteer-run non-profit has been bringing low-cost, weekly road and mountain bike races to the Roaring Fork Valley since 1988. The ACC also offers free skills clinics, mechanics workshops, trail work days, group rides and youth cycling scholarships. Sixteen races from May-September offer various levels of competition depending on experience level, and all of them take place on the most iconic trails and roads in the Valley.
Here are six tips from the ACC to help keep you in line with local etiquette on the trails and the roads this summer. Visit aspencyclingclub.org for a full schedule of events, and join the club at a Wednesday night race!
- Don’t mountain bike with earbuds in both ears. If you have music or a podcast on, it’s impossible to hear someone riding up behind you who may want to pass. The same can be said for riding on the road -- make sure you can hear cars or other cyclists. Plus, riding is better when you can hear the birds chirping and Aspen leaves rustling.
- When mountain biking and going downhill approach every blind corner like you “know” someone is around the corner coming up at you. That doesn’t mean you have to go super slow around every corner - but go at a speed that you could stop or avoid that person.
- I’ve recently put friendly sounding bike bells on my road and mountain bikes. Pedestrians seem to prefer this to the sound of my voice yelling that I’m “On the Left!” I usually get a friendly smile and wave and I believe this improves the cyclist-pedestrian relationship. Additionally, I’ve attached a Timber Bike Bell and I activate it on my MTB descents. It automatically rings when I bounce down the trail and helps to alert uphill riders that I’m coming before I can see them.
- Bring plenty of water to avoid dehydration, bring warm clothes and a rain jacket to avoid hypothermia on a chilly decent, bring a tire repair kit to avoid getting stuck away from help, bring some food or gels to avoiding bonking (not enough energy to get home), and if you are riding solo always tell your significant other where you are going and when to expect your return home.
- Ride dirt not mud! Aspen’s dry dirt is particularly sensitive to wet conditions, and the trails will rapidly degrade if people ride them in the wet. So wait till things dry out or plan your rides for the morning to avoid those afternoon thunderstorms.
When passing hikers, pedestrians, or other cyclists, call out the number of riders behind you. For example, Two more!, Last one!, or Just me! if you’re riding alone. This helps others know to expect more riders and avoid collisions on the trail.
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