Some crazy $#!^

19 11 2008

Steve Douglas sent us a link to one of the craziest things I have ever seen.  Its a group of guys that drag themselves out of bed and hit the trails @ 4:50 AM (yep that’s in the morning, the freaking morning).

“the 4:50 club is a group of mountain bikers who meet most every day at Horsetooth Mountain Park, Bobcat ridge…. at 4:50am during the week and at 7am on weekend… fun it is…. it has to be to do this so early”

I used to think that those downhillers were crazy.  At least they sleep in on the weekends.

Lots of cool photographs, check it out.

Little later in the day,

Gary Blackden and some others have been meeting at 9am on Tuesdays near the tennis courts at Warren Park.   They have been bustin’ out about 3 hours.

Bike Auction

Don’t forget about the sweetass carbon MTB Frame we are auctioning off to buy bikes for underprivileged kids this Christmas.   It’s sitting at 200.00 bucks right now.  That’s enough to buy two bikes.  We can do better then that.  Lets try to hit $1000, it’s worth at least twice that.

Frame Auction

As I’m writing this we hit 6 thousand hits, and we have 43 registered users on the forum.  Pretty Cool!

Here’s some more interesting stuff snaked from the interwebs.

Deputy Rides with Bike Fort Collins

by Dr. Tim Anderson

Jeff Morrell, Ron Winston, and I recently got to do a cyclist’s “outreach” exercise with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department’s Deputy Brian Ficker. You may recall that he was the officer involved in the incident with some Boulder cyclists in southern Larimer County that resulted in a spirited “web-wide” discussion of cyclist’s road riding habits, dress, etc. and our Sheriff’s attitude toward them. This exercise was born at a community bike forum when Jeff Morrell and I challenged the Sheriff to “ride with us if we would ride with him”.

Pictured is Jeff Morrell, Bike Fort Collins; Dr. Tim Anderson, Fort Collins Velodrome Association; Brian Ficker, Larimer County Deputy Sheriff; Ron Winston, Fort Collins Cycling Club.

While Sheriff Alderden probably would have accepted had the ride been on horseback, he apparently wasn’t interested in riding a bicycle. Deputy Ficker, however, a physical fitness devotee, agreed to a ride with us, and helped me schedule a “ride-along” with him in the patrol car. (Brian and I actually go way back, with our kids in school and Scouts together and are practically neighbors) I first got a short tour of the department HQ, signed the routine waiver and climbed into the Dodge Charger cruiser (yeah, it’s got a Hemi). It was loaded with communications, radar, video and computer technology making the passenger side of the front not so spacious, but pretty cool in a Top Gun sort of way.

We had decided to go out on a Wednesday evening when group rides are abundant, though by mid-August, rider numbers are down. We were to ride around for three hours looking for motorists and cyclists “misbehaving”.  Our route took us out through Laporte, up and around Horsetooth Reservoir, down towards Loveland on Glade Road, and back through Fort Collins. Along the way, the Deputy gave a lot of headlight, horn, and verbal warnings to several speeding motorists (I learned to drive when they had to be stopped and point a big radar gun at you, but no more), and wrote tickets to two of them.  He staked out a favorite corner of his in Bellvue to catch a solo rider on a road bike not making a complete stop at a stop sign. Using a short blip of his siren and his loudspeaker, he pulled her over and notified her of her mistake. This middle aged lady was noticeably shaken by the siren, but admitted she was just new to clip less pedals and only kept rolling slowly to avoid falling over.  No ticket was given.

On the South end of the reservoir, he chose another vantage point to observe Lee’s “Wednesday Worlds Lite” coming back from the Glade Road route. The pack had strung out by then, so there was no chance to see his interpretation of the “two abreast” issue. I’m often on that ride (typically dropped by that point) and was glad he had not chosen to observe it earlier when the “gruppo” would have been more “compacto”. We headed south, and onto Glade and continued to see the strung out chasers coming north. We turned around and started back north and then got some excitement when his radar showed a southbound car approaching at twenty or so over the limit. Deputy Ficker barely got past a solo northbound women from the Lee’s ride and then executed a high “G” force Y turn just in front of her (think major gravel flying) and sped south to stop and ticket the motorist. I could tell by the terrified look on this cyclist’s face that his maneuver was too close to her for comfort.

In our ride back through Fort Collins, we observed a young man riding a “fixie”, with no hands, talking on a cell phone, northbound on Stover Street. The Deputy passed him and “staked out” the corner of Pitkin and Stover, a four-way stop, and then said, “Watch this”. As predicted, the young man did not stop, and then turned westbound on Pitkin riding in the eastbound lane. This time Ficker used no technology, but opened his window a signaled “Halt” with his palm. This rider was uninformed claiming he had heard cyclists could ignore stop signs. After the Deputy informed him of that and his two other violations (riding no hands and on the wrong side of the road)   he let him go with a warning. The ticket tally finished up that night with motorists 2, cyclists 0. All in all it was an interesting “ride along”, and his enforcement on cyclists and motorists seemed fair to me.

Last Saturday morning came our chance to have Deputy Ficker join us for a typical road bike ride. He showed up at Jeff Morrell’s house well equipped with a “police equipped” mountain bike and even was sporting the spandex shorts that his boss had previously ridiculed. We mapped a route that we hoped would demonstrate some typical auto-cyclist conflicts. We headed through Fort Collins and did observe a CSU student (we assumed) riding out of Moby on the wrong side of the street, but he was uninterested in Ficker’s advice. He let him go. We rode up the South Dam and around to Horsetooth Mountain Park, then south on Glade Road to Loveland, and returned on Taft Hill Road to Trilby, to Lemay, and north back to Jeff’s house for a total of 45 miles.

We actually had a real good day, and Deputy Ficker was quite able to ride, especially considering he was on a mountain bike and doesn’t log the weekly miles that we do on our road bikes. This morning we experienced none of the common verbal abuse or typical lane crowding by vehicles and trailers, nor the diesel pickup “farts” timed just to annoy and poison us. We also didn’t make any complete stops at any of the stop signs (except we did so whenever other vehicles were present). Even Deputy Ficker must’ve felt it was unnecessary as he rolled through them just like we did. While some “toeing the line” and costly tickets have been given recently to make an example of a couple cyclists, I predict that those will be rare as things simmer down. I offered a few tips on turn lane use at stoplights, which Brian appreciated, but otherwise it was just like any friendly ride.

Overall, I thought the exercise was time well spent, and think both sides came away a better understanding of the other. I believe Deputy Ficker wants to be fair with cyclists, but I still have some doubts about a reasonable interpretation of “two-abreast” riding by the deputies, but especially by Sheriff Alderden. It remains to be seen if he wants to evolve from the Old West sheriff to the New West sheriff.




One response

20 11 2008
Kris Thompson

4:50am…. that is sleeping in -:)

Nice story, especially the ride with the police

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