This article was originally published by Austin Colbert in The Aspen Times.
Miah Wheeler wants the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club to continue to be a community staple in the Roaring Fork Valley, even after the snow has melted. And the next best thing to winter is summer and the valley's plethora of biking options.
Wheeler, AVSC's snowboard director, also runs the club's summer bike program and helped create Saturday's inaugural Community Pedaleando.
"We just wanted to have a community event mid-valley that we could bring in all the different cultures," Wheeler said. "For us, as the oldest non-profit in the valley, we are trying to engage outside of our traditional winter time. This is the eighth year we've had bicycling programs, and we really haven't done much of a marketing campaign."
The Pedaleando is being labeled as "a free bike ride to celebrate bike season." The festivities start Saturday at 8 a.m. at Triangle Park in Willits Town Center, with the ride starting at 9 a.m. The route takes riders to Rock Bottom Ranch and back via the Rio Grande Trail, roughly six miles round trip.
"Just something fun for young kids. So it's not a big ride at all," Wheeler said. "It's just to get kids outdoors. That's really the big piece. We want to get kids outdoors enjoying where we live. We are kind of living in a bike Mecca right now."
Pre-ride activities include a raffle and bike decorating. Multiple aid stations will be set up on the course and there will be factoids sprinkled throughout to engage the riders. The hope is not to only get children outside, but to raise awareness of the AVSC's summer bike program, which this season includes free intro to biking courses.
"We are doing free biking classes in Carbondale, Basalt and Snowmass Village, and we are doing four in each location," Wheeler said. "We are just trying to engage more people in that and keep our visibility going year round."
Saturday's bike ride is completely free and for all ages. Participants will be asked to sign a release form when they pick up their raffle ticket; pre-registration is not required. Free breakfast and snacks will be available.
AVSC has teamed with around 25 local businesses and nonprofits to help make this happen.
Go to http://www.teamavsc.org for more information on the club's summer bike programs, which start early this month.