Aug 272009
 
Authors: Lauren Leete

Bike riders will converge in Old Town tonight for a free event that marks the beginning of a big weekend for state cyclists./

The 3rd annual Oskar Blues Cruiser Bike Tour festival will celebrate cycling with a cruise around the city, a bluegrass concert by the local Big South String Band and other venues such as character drawings and temporary tattoos.

“It’s a good, friendly crowd and is fun for everybody . to stop and smell the flowers,” said Dave Kemp, the city bicycle coordinator./

Sponsored by the Fort Collins Cycling Festival, Oskar Blues, Fort Collins’s Downtown Business Association, Chipper’s Lanes, Ben & Jerry’s and Ten Thousand Villages, this event is also where citizens can pre-register for the ACA Rist Canyon Hill Climb between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m./ /

Charles Weinbeck, founder of the Fort Collins Cycling Festival, said the Hill Climb is the “Tour de France” of Colorado. He said athletes from New Zealand, Venezuela, Jamaica and other countries come for what is known as “one of the toughest races.”/

Weinbeck said his organization, one Hill Climb sponsors, is a for-profit organization intended “to bring larger cycling events into Larimer County and Fort Collins.” /

Bicycle safety and education is another important mission for the FCCF, Weinbeck said, and Kemp, who said he has been working with CSU to promote bicycle safety./

“(We) have a fantastic biking community.” Kemp said, “(But) we have got a lot of work to do . educating.” /

Kemp said students may not understand the road rules for a bicyclist and he hopes to make those rules clear and available to everyone./

“All these students come back, and they are riding like crazy people all over town . people are like ‘enough.’ We really got to teach bicyclers how to ride safely,” Kemp said./

The cruiser bike tour begins at 5:35 p.m. on the corner of Linden and Walnut streets where everyone is welcome to unwind from a hectic week for a fun scenic ride around the city, ending at 7:30 p.m. in Old Town Square./

Staff writer Lauren Leete can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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