The Future of Cycling Tours? This Might Be One Way–We Ride 4’s Tour of Colorado

By Bill Plock

The We Ride 4 Cycling Club just completed a four day mountain tour starting and stopping in Crested Butte with overnights in Buena Vista, Salida and Gunnison. Twenty two riders rode the loop culminating with a favorable tailwind on the wide shouldered highway between Gunnison and Crested Butte on Sunday.

Many of the members have ridden Ride the Rockies for years. With that ride cancelled this year, they decided to form their own version of a mountain tour and do a Covid friendly smaller group ride. Founder and director, Sharon Madison decided to organize this ride not only for fun but to raise money for the club’s charity of choice, The Cottonwood Institute. The club raised $15,000 which also included a live auction via zoom on the third night at the hotel in Gunnison. The team gathered for dinner and bid, and won several items.

Like any cycling club the camaraderie, friendships and familiarity makes these types of rides fun, but what made this work particularly well was the support typically found on larger rides like Ride the Rockies.

In fact, the same company who provides logistical support for Ride the Rockies (and other rides nationally) provided support for this ride. Summit Cycle Solutions transported luggage each day, arranged lodging and provided some well deserved snacks on the two longest days of the ride–Crested Butte to Buena Vista and Salida to Gunnison.

This is a new type of business for Zach Ostrander, owner of Summit Cycle Solutions who typically handles logistic for rides with 500 or more cyclists. They handle bag and bike transport along with booking accommodations and working with host cities and route planning. Tours hire them to run behind the scenes aspects and they work months in advance securing lodging, gathering points and working with host towns and transportation agencies.

Said Zach of this event, the first of its size for them to handle, “it was just so much fun to see people on bikes, and this group is so friendly and fun to work with.” Summit now offers a “build your tour package” for groups like We Ride 4. Here is a link for that: https://summitcyclesolutions.com/design-a-event

Sharon Madison formed the We Ride 4 Cycling Club a few months ago with a mission to offer members a wide variety of weekly rides (almost everyday) from various locations in the Denver/Boulder area. There are road, gravel and mountain bike rides. Generally there are three levels of groups depending on how many participate and what ride leaders are available.

As a non-profit cycling club, the mission of WE RIDE is to support non-profit organizations that enrich the lives of children through better health, activities and personal development.

Powered by Primal Wear, the cycling club that promotes community on the bike, staying fit and making new friends. They create unique experiences for our members through weekly rides, participation in cycling events and social gatherings throughout the year. Through the sport of cycling, their goal is to create awareness and support for the non-profits they partner with each year.

For the 2020/2021 season, We Ride 4 will be supporting Cottonwood Institute. We Ride 4 will provide enhanced marketing & branding, creative fundraising and human resources to support the mission of Cottonwood. We Ride 4 raises money primarily through memberships, sponsorships, individual donations and merchandise sales. All funds raised will support the operation of the club and direct contributions to Cottonwood.

Cottonwood Institute was founded in 2004 andis an award-winning 501(c)(3) educational non-profit organization based in Denver, Colorado. Cottonwood is committed to transforming the way we empower Colorado Front Range students to be leaders and problem-solvers in their communities.

Cottonwood says, “Kids today spend 50 hours per week in front of some device and 90% of their times indoors.  As a result, they are losing their connection with nature and yet in a few years they will be expected to solve the most pressing issues our planet has ever faced in human history. However, we are not teaching students the 21st century skills they need to be leaders, problem-solvers, and changemakers to address these problems.”

Cottonwood Institute believes that students can’t be expected to care about the environment if they never have a chance to explore the outdoors.  They empower students to be environmentally aware and civically engaged offering exciting programs that teach students essential skills for exploring the outdoors and igniting change in their communities.

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