The Orange Ride to Invesco Field

By Ben Welnak (Twitter at @Bwelnak), with contributions by Piep Van Heuven (Executive Director of BikeDenver) and photos by Jason McRoy


Photo Credit: Jason McRoy

The 1st Annual Orange Ride to the Broncos game on Sunday, October 17th was a success! About 600 riders took advantage of the beautiful Autumn weather and free admission (an $8 value) to the Bronco Barn for food, drinks, and giveaways prior to the Broncos versus New York Jets game by participating in the inaugural ride.

The Broncos Orange Ride was a collaborative effort organized by the Denver Broncos, the City of Denver, BikeDenver, Denver B-Cycle, and the Denver Cruisers as part of the Denver Broncos Game Plan Green Program (see DenverBroncos.com/gameplangreen). The program strives to promote sustainable practices at INVESCO Field at Mile High in partnership with Xcel Energy, Round2, and RecycOil. The Orange Ride became a reality with a press release by the City of Denver and the Broncos on October 11th. Rides were organized into "pelotons" from four locations around the city, including Ginn Mill, Gov's Park, Crimson & Gold Tavern. Leading one of the pelotons to the game was Denver Mayor, John Hickenlooper. His peleton of 50 riders was a great group and showed the true spirit of the event. The other peleton leaders were Ellen Hart Pena, City Councilwoman Carla Madison, ex-Bronco Rich Karlis, and DJ Eliot Lipp.

With the wide array of cyclists in the community, great bike path access, and a growing interest in commuting, the initial expectations weren't all that clear. "We weren't completely sure what to expect, but we had every expectation that the organized rides, the VIP ride with the Mayor, and the VIP bike parking would be well-utilized. We thought we'd see about 500 riders in the planned rides and 750-1,000 bikes at VIP bike parking and in fact, it turned out that these were accurate estimates. We also planned for a possible "bike tsunami", because we knew the Broncos and the bicycling community could reach so many people via our various communication vehicles. We had additional parade barricades set up for free (outside the supevised bike corral) and a secure bike parade in case we reached capacity for supervised bike parking," notes Piep van Heuven, Executive Director of BikeDenver.

Sandy Young, the Denver Broncos Senior Marketing Manager praised the ride, saying “The Denver Broncos were proud to partner with the City of Denver, Denver B-cycle, the Denver Cruisers, and BikeDenver for the first annual Orange Ride. The Broncos not only support alternative transportation to Broncos games, but also encourage fans to participate in healthy activities throughout Colorado. It was fun to see so many Broncos fans ride their bikes and watch the Broncos game together from the Broncos Barn afterwards. The Orange Ride is part of the Denver Broncos Game Plan Green program helping promote sustainable practices at INVESCO Field at Mile High in partnership with Xcel Energy, ROUND2 and recycOil." Brad Evans of the Denver Cruisers said, "To have this many folks show up on bikes and to have each of our groups collaborate to show how easy it is to alter the habits all of us have become so accustomed to (getting every where via the auto) is awesome. First time out the gate to have this many participants is heroic!"


Photo Credit: Jason McRoy

Steve Sander, the Director of Strategic Marketing for the City of Denver was also happy with the result, "The perfect fall weather made things totally enjoyable for all the cyclists and volunteers so we have a lot to be thankful for. I hope it serves as another reminder that professional sports, regardless of wins or losses, can take a leadership role in helping to promote an active healthy community that includes a big focus on multi-modal transportation. For that we are very grateful for the opportunity to work with the Denver Broncos on this project. A HUGE shout out to the entire Broncos staff, Piep and all the BikeDenver volunteers, Brad and his team from the Cruisers who did an amazing job of organizing and leading the rides, Amanda and Andrea from Denver-B-cycle, Brent and Val from the City, and the folks at SA Elite for throwing a great reception for the VIP ride."

Piep van Heuven was happy with the result, adding "It was fantastic to see all the bikes roll into the VIP bike parking area right at the main entrance of Invesco. We're really proud of our volunteers who helped organize the entrance and exit process and monitor access to the Broncos Barn where bicyclists were treated to free entry and reduced prices on food and beverages, while they enjoyed watching NFL games, and of course, the Broncos versus Jets on the multiple screens in the venue. It was another great day to ride a bike in Denver!"

The event was well organized, the weather was phenomenal, and, based on the particpation, the next one will only be better! Keep an eye out for the 2011 version next football season!

For more information on rides, commuting, and the Denver cycling community, please check out www.BikeDenver.org.

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