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Roadies look to improve safety in Boulder

Published May 9, 2017
An illustration of the kind of sign that C4C would like to buy.
Cyclists 4 Community plans fundraiser dinner Friday.

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — Recreational road cyclists in this cycling-crazy city are opening their wallets and taking an active approach to improving rider safety and community relations on the roads.

Cyclists 4 Community is holding a fundraiser event this Friday where it hopes to raise as much as $60,000 to put toward a new public-private initiative. The event comes following a tough period in Boulder County during which two cyclists have died in accidents in the past week

C4C was co-founded by Boulder retailer Russ Chandler, although it launched several years before Chandler entered the bike industry by buying Full Cycle with two partners. C4C is an offshoot of Boulder's Wednesday Morning Velo networking ride, and was initially formed to help residents and businesses in Jamestown, a mountain town devastated by a September 2013 flood. 

Now the group is planning to work with county and city transportation departments to fund some campaigns that aren't in the departments' budgets. For example, Chandler said the group hopes to buy a portable, programmable electronic road sign that could be used to alert drivers of heavy rider use on popular cycling routes, such as Highway 36.

On weekend mornings, the shoulders of 36 heading north out of Boulder are packed with cyclists, riding solo or in groups large and small. The road is also a popular driving route for tourists heading from Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park.

"In the short term we'd like to put up some signage to warn people coming up from Denver or from out of state to be on their toes for cyclists," Chandler said. In the long term, Chandler said the group would like to work with officials to build a separated bike lane or path along 36.

He said transportation departments are receptive to the ideas. But department budgets and staff time have been dominated since 2013 by rebuilding the flood-damaged roads. Some damaged Boulder County roads, including those leading to Jamestown, have only recently been completely rebuilt, and some are still closed or open with substandard temporary status.

The event Friday is called Crank It Forward and will be held at Boulder's Rembrandt Yard. Several local bike retailers and industry suppliers have given support and donated items, including two bikes from Giant, for a silent auction. Chandler said over 100 people had bought tickets by Monday afternoon and he predicted more than 200 will attend. The guest speaker will be Brianne Davis, the widow of a cyclist who was killed last year in Boulder.  

In previous years, C4C's primary fundraiser was a cyclocross and beer festival held in September at Boulder's Valmont Bike Park. Those events only raised about $10,000 each for the group, he said, so the group is trying a different approach this year.

"An evening fundraising event like this is much more of a proven concept," he said.

More information at crankitforward.org.

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