Western Slope Roundup: Cyclists win some, lose some ground

    Pedal west of the Divide to find out what Aspen, three-breasted cyclists, nervous husbands and gun-toting campers had in common during last week’s news cycle.

    Only in Aspen: The mayor’s $5,000 bike gets stolen, returned

    Aspen Mayor Mick Ireland’s usual mode of transportation is by bicycle, so jumping on his bike last Tuesday to attend a council meeting was nothing out of the unusual. However, because he had lent a tire off his usual traveling bike to a buddy for the Ride the Rockies trip, Ireland used his super-duper $5,000 road bike for the jaunt to city hall – and he didn’t lock it up.

    Aspen might still be a small town, but someone found it too tempting to pass up a nice bike. After the meeting, Ireland found himself without wheels.

    Since Ireland is a well-known politician, the missing bike made headlines in the local newspapers. Whether it was the publicity or a case of guilt, the next day the unknown perpetrator left the prized bike in an alleyway behind the St. Regis hotel. "My faith in this town has been renewed," Ireland toldThe Aspen Daily News when the bike was found and returned. It was a timely reunion between owner and the cycle, too. Wednesday was Bike to Work day.

    Three-breasted cyclists and nervous husband lead to wider car lanes in Routt County

    County Road 36, outside the city limits of Steamboat Springs, is a popular lane for cyclists, horseback riders and walkers because of its wide 5-foot shoulders. But for drivers in large vehicles, the 9-foot vehicle lanes were too confining, so Routt County commissioners peddled into action.

    In response to complaints by some drivers about the narrow lanes and despite pleas from recreation enthusiasts to keep the current configuration, in a split decision the commissioners voted to re-stripe the road, giving vehicles 10-foot lanes and cutting the shoulder room down to 4 feet.

    Because of the wide shoulders, drivers convinced the commissioners that it promoted unsafe bicycle behavior because many cyclists traveled two or three abreast rather than in single file. Cyclists and equestrian proponents unsuccessfully argued that wider vehicle lanes would encourage drivers to go faster than the posted 35-mph speed limit, thus making the road more dangerous.

    The swing vote on the commission was Nancy Sta­hoviak, who made up her mind to support wider vehicle lanes when her husband drove her down C.R. 36. “It was not a comfortable feeling. … my husband is a pretty good driver, and it made him nervous,” she said.

    In Telluride, swap your dog for a bike … and leave your hunting gun at home

    If you are a hiker or cyclist, welcome to Telluride’s newly acquired Valley Floor, a 572-acre, open-space park the town was finally able to purchase from would-be developers. However, if your gun-toting, 100 Labrador Dog Club members are driving in with trailers of ATV’s, looking for a place to ride, camp and roast marshmallows over a bonfire, those folks will have to move on.

    On Tuesday the Town Council passed an interim emergency ordinance that outlined the public uses of the Valley Floor until a more permanent management plan is developed. The temporary ordinance encouraged hikers, bicycles and paragliders to use the park, but it outlawed dogs, hunting, camping, fires, dirt bikes and large gatherings of people.

    Until the details of the management plan are finalized, the Telluride Marshal’s Department will enforce the Valley Floor codes. No one may land behind bars if they ignore the rules, but if a member of a hunting club is found with a dog tied to a parked ATV next to a 25-bed tent, he or she could be looking at a $1,000 fine.

    Alamosa bus riders may have to find different tires to ride

    Driven to hard times, the Monte Vista Economic Development Corp. has had to shut down its public bus transportation services to communities in the San Luis Valley, including Alamosa. Although the agency hopes to land special grants to revive the bus system called "The Loop," local government officials were not expecting the service to restart any time soon.

    In the meantime, will bus riders be faced with only two-wheel or two-heeled alternatives?