Aug 302009
 
Authors: Lauren Leete

About 100 riders turned out for the 3rd annual Oskar Blues Cruiser Bike Tour Friday, an event intended to bring larger cycling events to town and raise bike safety awareness, community biking leaders said.

The festival, sponsored by several local businesses and

organizations, tour celebrated community biking and allowed riders and opportunity to pre-register for the ACA Rist Canyon Hill Climb, called the “Tour de France” of Colorado by Charles Weinbeck, founder of the Fort Collins Cycling Festival.

The Old Town ride took an unexpected turn when the tour leader changed directions mid-ride, turning on Meldrum Street by accident and ending the bike cruise on Mason Street rather than Mountain Avenue.

And though the bike tour moved through Shield Street to CSU’s Oval and down Mason Street –/it was originally planned to follow Sherwood to Mountain Avenue, moving toward City Park, then circling back to Mountain Avenue.

And though safety and education were important features of the event, people’s personalities and love for biking stole the show.

CSU Alumni and Dining Services employee Lief Youngs squeaked a plastic lion head toy mounted atop his handlebars, signaling his excitement to cruise around on his custom-made swivel bike in Old Town.

Designed by his friend, Youngs’ gray bike slithered beneath him as the handlebars turned one way and the seat pointed another. Youngs said it took some getting used to at first, but he enjoys riding in a crooked fashion.

“This baby turns on a dime,” Youngs said, smiling beneath his red baseball cap.

Coming around the last stretch of the tour, all of the cyclists stopped into Lee’s Cyclery on Laurel and Mason for free refreshments and bonding with fellow cruisers.

A first year cruiser on the Oskar Blues Bike Tour, but seasoned cyclist, Susan Arias, said during the ride, “people were waving to us.”

She said, one man, heading home from work, saw the tour coming down the road and joined them.

“Fort Collins is so fun,” Arias said.

Leaving Lee’s Cyclery and free Pap’s Blue Ribbon beer behind, riders returned to Old Town Square for a free bluegrass concert featuring the Big South String Band.

As the upbeat rhythms of bluegrass resonated through the crowd, people began to dance, while some children played in the water fountains and others simply watched.

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

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