Chris Johnson Coloradoanby Chris Johnson for the Coloradoan. Republished with permission. 

Thursday April 4th night saw the second edition of our new monthly Northern Colorado Bike “talkshow” YGR Live, presented by, The Ranch Events Complex, the Rio and Citizen Printing. This installment, at the Agave Room at the Rio, was full of topical guests and info, starting with an announcement by Megan Greer of the Fort Collins Recreator about a new partnership between The Recreator and The Grassroots race series.  

Called the Healthy Kids Bike Challenge Series, this partnership is designed to provide additional support for the already thriving free kids racing series Fort Collins hosts on Tuesday nights throughout the summer.  Tuesday night series will be listed in the summer edition of the Fort Collins Recreator, and the University Healthcare Foundations Healthy Kids program will be underwriting all the insurance cost of the kids events, allowing promoters to continue to build great free youth races without incurring a loss.   This is just the latest step in a long term commitment to cooperation between city, county and promoters to develop and foster racing as an important social and recreational hub of the community.

Next we hosted Larry Butterfield, Manager of Lory State Park.   Larry spoke at length about the impact of the galena fire on Lory’s trails and on the timeline for rebuilding structures and reopening.  Audio recording of this segment should be available soon, but M. Butterfield offered a rough timeline of a few months depending on various factors

Our final segment focused on fostering a better relationship between rural northern Colorado residents and the cyclists who us county roads for recreation.    Our special guest of honor for this segment was Rist Canyon Fire Chief Bob Gann.    Mr. Gann reaffirmed his commitment to working with the bike community and residents of the canyons to foster a long term mutual respect.  He reminded us that while those of us who live outside of the canyon have largely moved on, the fires scars are still very much a part of daily life for residents, who are still putting their lives back together.      He expressed a steadfast commitment to peaceful progress, but also cautioned that the canyon is still very much a raw nerve and that compassion and consideration would go a long way for the foreseeable future.  

We came together in admonishing the local press to be conscious of its role in reporting on this relationship responsibly and not sensationally or in an inflammatory way, to recognize the goodwill and good faith most of the residents and cyclists exhibit.  

In addition to Mr Gann, Lieutenant Mike Loberg of the Larimer County Sherriff’s Traffic Division and Special Events Unit took the floor to reinforce the County’s commitment to supporting conciliatory efforts.  Pat MCGaughran, owner of the Rio Grande Restaurant, and long time local cycling advocate and supporter, also spoke of his commitment to developing a sustained communication and education campaign aimed at helping transform the culture in a positive way.

 Ultimately, cyclists and residents have a powerful common interest in the natural beauty and tranquility of Larimer County’s rural mountain roads.  We know that conciliation is an inevitability and that the roads and mountains are big enough for us to coexist and even come together to celebrate our natural bounty together.   Look for more information and opportunities to get involved and support this mission in coming columns and on