Pedal Durango, a “one-stop-shop” for all things Durango cycling. It all seemed easy in theory but has turned into quite an endeavor because, really, there is a lot to cover, and it is by no means complete. For the launch of the site and social platforms the surface has only been scratched on what one-stop-shop is supposed to mean. We have done our best to provide a resource to the cycling community and visitors.
A big thank you goes out to David Howard of Pedal the Peaks and Tony Hermesman for giving us the reigns of the platform started a few years ago. We cherry picked the low hanging fruit by developing a resource on our trail networks, road and gravel rides (share your favorite gravel ride with us), the bike shops that collectively cater to every need and style, the best places to fuel up and wind down, the relatively low-key companies that produce bike specific gear, art and services, the programs that support youth and important causes and the events and social rides that define our cycling community. There is still much more.
We want this site to be important to the community, so we need to be what the community wants. On the horizon is supporting local commuting and advocacy efforts, fat biking, surrounding area trail systems, clinics, how-to’s, dating sites (maybe not), etc. We want to hear from our community about what is important and cool to you all in hopes of bringing our cycling community together. By having us all together we can be inviting to visitors and newcomers who want to find out what is in our water. We want them to feel welcome in our community and make the most of their time here. We want everyone to respect and honor the natural and man-made resources we have right out the door, and a strong community ensures that.
Durango has had a cycling scene since the 1890s – there are pictures all over town with riders on Baker’s Bridge out in the Animas Valley. Honestly, much can’t be told of the scene between then and when the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic (IHBC) started 53 years ago. The event was the spark that helped Durango carve out a niche as a great place to ride a bike. The race, bike vs. train, over two mountain passes to Silverton – who would have thought it would be magic for the community.
The IHBC has crowned many champions that have gone onto the highest level of the sport is also a yearly challenge for riders from all walks of life. The organization, notoriety and status of the event brought MTB National Championships to the area in the late 1980s (at Edgemont Ranch if you can believe that) and in 1990 called upon the community to host the first ever Mountain Bike World Championships up at Purgatory (check out the video!) and then the 2001 UCI World Cup in Durango and at Purgatory. The energy from the 1990 Worlds also led a group of folks to start a trail advocacy, construction and maintenance organization known as Trails 2000 (now Durango Trails). The vision and dedication of the group that began working with local land managers to develop and or purchase the open space surrounding Durango has resulted in over 300 miles of trails directly accessed from town, quite an outstanding result!
All of this energy has also led to many other things that make our community special: Tuesday Night Worlds, Snowdown Roller Races, US Pro Challenge, a couple Single Speed World Championships, almost a dozen bike shops, MTB races through Steamworks Brewing, Devo Jr Fun races, Friday night BMX races, polo games, enthusiastic collegiate gatherings and events, local MTB and CX series and dirt jump session with the homies, all reflecting and supporting our community. This support has nourished many Olympians, World and National Champions and riders with dreams of glory but also the rest of us recreational riders who are very, very fortunate to have so many opportunities. But there is more to come with Durango Mesa going all-in on developing more world-class cycling amenities, we are going to be even more fortunate, while at the same time maintaining the title of cycling capital of the world!
There are many people who have been a part of the making of Durango cycling and it would take forever to note all their contributions, maybe that is down the line. To keep it short here we’ll name just two. The first is Ed Zink, the founder of the IHBC, who did a lot of the dirty work in the early years but also mentored and inspired a whole other generation of cycling leaders and had a hand in many of the opportunities that propels the scene today. The other is Ben Sonntag, who left us way to soon. His indomitable spirit and love for the bike touched everyone he connected with – Ride like Ben!
Lastly, we all ride bikes for different reasons: getting from A to B, achieving health goals, great outdoor experiences with friends, trying to break someone’s record up Telegraph or Shalona, pushing limits of endurance or skill or as an important part of mental health, we all relish the feeling of moving on two wheels – to quote the very apt Durango Devo tagline – Never Forget the Feeling #NFTF.
Yours Truly and Rock On,
Dave and Rick
PS: While this endeavor is a labor of love it does take a lot of time and effort. If any businesses believe in the power of the bike and what it brings to our community, support cycling and Pedal Durango by considering listing and/or advertising with us.