USA Pro Cycling Challenge is racing through Steamboat this weekend, and several thousand fans (many from Europe) are expected. It’s the only stop of the seven stages of the tour to host both a start and finish.Whenever I watch the Tour de France I can’t help but cringe as face painters draped in American flags chase at the rear tires of the best riders in the world like rabid, umm, Belgians. Finally it’s Europe’s turn to cringe. The
You probably already know about the mountain biking up here (see related post) but Steamboat is rebilling itself as a biking destination and is allocating sweat and dollars to turn Ski Town USA into a year-round destination. Once here, cycling fans can ditch their cars and ride hundreds of miles of singletrack from downtown. But the road riding is equally desirable. Punch it up to the top of Rabbit Ears Pass to watch the peloton come through, then bomb back to town and cruise around with the family.
Benefitting from the Safe Routes to School cycling advocacy program, new bike paths built by the town, and a big investment in signage and dedicated bike lanes, Steamboat is bike friendlier than most mountain towns.
Even the local restaurants are chipping into the effort. Smart move since so many local eateries pepper the artery’s path. Start your night at Rex’s American Grill & Bar, where cyclists have about as much allocated parking as the SUVs. Have a mechanical problem? The tool kit is kept with the lager out behind the bar. A great lawn area boasts hula-hoops and beanbag toss for the kids; the open-air patio has free music and plenty of shade. Families arrive in Burleys, order a brick oven pizza or basket of wings and sit on the grass with a cold beer.
Downtown at bistro c.v. (more bike advocates here) indulge in locavore eating at its best. Fresh fish, an expansive wine list, and cheerful servers will help heal your tired legs. Don’t leave without trying the grilled romaine salad.
And now it’s late and dark and you’re ready to plan the next day’s ride. But the stars are out, and the locals are throwing free parties and concerts. Don’t pack it in quite yet. —Sarah Peruzzi
Look for live updates from the Steamboat Springs Bike Summit (Sept. 30 to Oct. 1). A celebration of cycling, the event will include test laps of the new lift-serviced mountain biking at the resort, fun-rides, guest speakers, and bike-in movie showings. For more on the Ski Town USA initiative, check out the website.