“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best…” Those words by Ernest Hemmingway are as good an intro as any I can offer as to why I’ll be riding a bicycle for untold hours, covering hundreds of miles in Fort Collins over the next few months.  

Here’s the deal:  This June, I’ll be participating in Ride the Rockies. Ride The Rockies is an annual bicycle tour that takes 2,000 cyclists on a 6-7 day ride through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. In its 31st year, Ride the Rockies will cover 403 miles over six days while climbing over 30,000 feet. Yikes. And, awesome!  The route changes every year and will finish up in Fort Collins on June 17. 

So, there you go.  I’ll be spending the next three months riding a bicycle as much as I can through Fort Collins to get ready for Ride the Rockies.  I gotta tell you, I’m really excited.  In the early days of my training, I’ve already discovered what so many others already know and have written about.  Fort Collins is a spectacular bike city!  I’ve ridden up to see Horsetooth Reservoir showing off in the early morning sun.  I’ve ridden up roads like Bingham Hill and Rist Canyon; spots I’d heard the “real” cyclists talking about and wanted to experience for myself.  I’ve casually cruised down the Mason Trail without breaking a sweat.  I have a long list of rides I want to do and I can’t wait to share the highlights with you.

Before we go too far, I’d like to tell you a bit about myself.  I’m comfortable on a bike and have some riding experience, but I’m no pro nor am I a lifelong avid cyclist.  A few years ago, the thought of riding on a road with cars or having to fix a flat on the go were intimidating and enough to keep me out of the game.  Then, I borrowed a friend’s bike and went on a ride.  I don’t remember how far I went or how long it took me.  I just remember that I had a grin on my face the entire time.  I was hooked, but I still had a lot of questions and reservations.  I did a ton of research and read lots of articles and message boards.  More importantly, I rode and learned along the way.  One of my goals for this recurring blog is to help some of you get a little further down the road.  I hope you will find these posts useful and encouraging.  Enough for now, let’s go ride bikes!

Erik Barstow is the Director of Sales at Visit Fort Collins. He will be participating in this recurring blog a number of times leading up to Ride the Rockies. We hope you enjoy what he has to offer in the coming months leading up to the race.