To ensure safe and enjoyable riding experiences as well as uphold the reputation of Steamboat Velo, our members, and our sponsors, we ask all riders to observe the following rules.
1. Come Prepared
Rides hosted by Steamboat Velo are social, they are not guided nor are they race events, thus all participants need to come responsible for themselves; Your equipment is in good working condition, you have the skills & tools to handle repairs, you have brought sufficient water & nutrition, and you can navigate the route with variable terrain on your own.
+ A note on backcountry riding – Additionally you recognize the requirements and risks of riding in remote areas which can often not be too far from town. Many of our rides will very quickly be without cell service and difficult for vehicle access. For these rides know in advance what your own evac plan is and consider carrying a InReach type satellite safety device.
2. Stay Alert & Be Seen
Riding in a group often has a tendency to shift attention away from road hazards, motor vehicles, and other road/trail users. And with more riding taking place on gravel roads there is a false sense of having the road to yourself. Be ready to react quickly and don’t be caught off guard by a pothole you didn’t see, a car coming at you fast around a blind corner, or another trail user in your path. Additionally never pass slow moving vehicles from behind by traveling into their blindspots.
Good visibility and awareness can go a long way with the drivers who might not see you because they are distracted or under the influence. A rear facing taillight with radar alerts you to approaching vehicles is a high value tool that gives you more time to react to fast approaching vehicles.
3. Show Courtesy & Yield
Rightly so most cyclists are primed to expect hostility from 5000lb vehicles flying around with distracted, drunk, and road raging drivers (see #4 for more on that). But we all still need to show up with courtesy for others on shared roads and trails. No exceptions, we always yield on trails to other users including horses, runners, uphill riders, wildlife, etc. On road a thank you wave acknowledging motorists that yield and pass with 3+ feet is encouraged. Lastly scrub speed and yield first for livestock, wildlife, and horseback riders on gravel roads. Full stop if it’s going to be a tight pass like on Sarvis creek, salt creek, etc.
+ “But the runners usually wave me past?” – Nope, let’s give them right of way uphill or downhill so they start saying “Steamboat Velo crew always waves me past, love those guys/gals”.
4. Know the Laws and Report the Offenses
Download the state laws for bicycles and be familiar with them including the recent ‘safety stop’ law. Most drivers and some law enforcement will make false statements about bike law. While there are no roads with single file laws specifically in Routt county, our rides do maintain single file when departing town due to the lack of bike lanes and shoulders on River road, Twenty mile road, and Elk River road.
If you get buzzed by a vehicle, objects thrown at you, rolled with coal exhaust, or have any other aggressive road rage incident just report it right away. Get the vehicle license plate and a picture of their car if possible. Have the numbers for Colorado State Patrol *CSP (*277) and Routt County ( 970-879-1090) saved in your phone.
The route, pace, regroup points, and any safety reminders will be shared at at the start of all rides. If you show up for a ride unsure of what to expect or don’t hear it shared, ask in advance of the departure. Once a ride is rolling it is the responsibility of the group to foster a fun and safe team environment along with maintaining the desired group pace.
There is no ride enforcement officer so it’s up to the group to use good communication around hazards, the pace, and just generally looking out for each other. If you see someone being unsafe and not following the above rules say something. And as important be sure to give positive support to all of the rad riders out with you!
6. Mind the Group
We keep it single file when leaving town on River rd, Elk river rd, and Twenty mile rd as there is no shoulder, no bike lane, and steep drop offs from the pavement. Never ride more than two wide in any situation and riding on the left hand side of a gravel road going into blind corners or over blind hills is just nuts, don’t do it. Point below the waist to callout hazards (negative) and point above your waist (positive) to let other riders and drivers know you are turning.
+ There is no ride enforcement officer so it’s up to the group to use good communication around hazards, the pace, and just generally looking out for each other. And with that be sure to give positive support to all of the rad riders out with you!
7. Do Your Pace
Last point – Never apologize for going the pace you want to go, the pace you need to go, or the pace you can go. Sometimes you will align with the group, other times the group ride might feel like a bad book that you just need to drop. It’s a long season and we will have lot’s of different ride opportunities! So don’t hesitate to pull off early if the ride is too slow, too fast, or you just aren’t feeling the group.
*In order to keep our rides safe and build camaraderie, Steamboat Velo rides are for members only (no drop in’s please). We strive to foster a team of likeminded riders who are comfortable riding together, rather than offer free community rides. If you want to join in, shoot us a note first.