Six years can go by kind of fast, but that is where we find ourselves this week as we prepare to host our sixth annual Moots Ranch Rally, an event that benefits the Community Agriculture Alliance.
Thinking back to the early editions — especially the first — we have come a long way. A group of about 75 riders met on that June day in 2014 to set out and see what these roads offered. We ran out of food, we ran out of water, but we all had a great time.
We met the Ag Alliance board members and learned that we all had one thing in common no matter what type of saddle we sat on, be it a bike or horse, we all agreed we love these roads and the solitude they offer. In the end we raised about $1,500 that first year. A tradition was born and we feel a bridge was built between two unlikely groups.
Fast forward six years, and in the cycling circles, gravel is all the rage nationwide. Small, remote towns are sought out for rides, races and as destinations that riders will travel to and be able to experience what we have right here in Routt County. We consider ourselves very lucky to live in such a place that allows us to ride these wonderful roads.
The Ranch Rally makes many riders bucket list of rides to do with it’s low-key “it’s not a race” format. The event attracts riders from all over the country and many of our Moots dealers come to experience our little slice of gravel heaven. We have increased the rider limit to about 200 riders, but have kept the intimate feel of the event by staying small and local.
For noncyclists in and around Steamboat, you might notice more riders on those dirt roads in places you don’t suspect to see a bike. The allure of adventure and seeing what lies around the bend is strong with the gravel crowd, so you’ll see us out there, grinding away on those rough, dusty roads.
It’s a great time to remember the rules of the road as a cyclist, even if these roads don’t have yellow lines, white lines or even two lanes at times like a normal road. As a motorist, it’s worth remembering the same.
Things to keep in mind while riding gravel:
- Keep your head up and be alert.
- Stay to the right.
- Blind corners are more common on gravel roads, again, stay right.
- Be self sufficient.
- Leave no trace.
- Be aware of ranch/farm equipment on the move.
- Be aware of livestock.
- Stop and chat with ranchers mending fence or moving livestock.
As we continue to build our bicycle frames locally, we continue to support our locally raise foods as well. Check out the Community Ag Alliance store in downtown Steamboat to support local agriculture.
Jon Cariveau works for Moots Cycles.