On May 15, 2014, a group of local bicyclists got together for the first time as part of a newly formed Bike Fort Collins advocacy committee. As we sat around the table at Daz Bog in a teeny little side room, we came up with all sorts of great ideas about things we could do to improve the safety of Fort Collins streets for bicyclists.
As we chatted, the conversation came around to the brand new Mason Corridor — with the MAX line and the Mason trail. The grand opening for MAX had just taken place five days previous and we didn’t really have a sense of how things were working out for cyclists. So instead of having another meeting the following month, we decided to have a ride instead. It was the beginning of our monthly Ride Around Town (RAT) rides.
On June 12th, we met up at the Downtown Transit Center. We pedaled from there down Mason, through campus, and just to the other side of Prospect Road. We stopped several times along the way to take photographs of problem areas and to talk about improvements that could be made or issues that we were seeing.
When we were finished, our ringleader, Bruce Henderson (now President of Bike Fort Collins) put together a list of items that we had noted, along with photos, and sent the information to both City and CSU staff members to see about getting a few improvements made. Within the year signage was added, the bike turn light was introduced at Laurel and Mason, and an additional light/crosswalk was constructed on Prospect for eastbound pedestrians and cyclists.
Bike Fort Collins has hosted a RAT ride almost every month since then, visiting various parts of town and exploring the infrastructure along the way. We’ve occasionally been joined by City staff or even City Council members. At the end of each route we stop at a local brewery for libations. There we talk through what we saw on our ride, what the problems were, and perhaps even come up with a few possible solutions. The ride leader compiles these notes and they’re either sent to staff members who might be able to use the feedback to make improvements, or the notes are compiled and put on the Bike Fort Collins website so that other riders can get tips and suggestions for how to get through specific areas safely.
The video at top is from our most recent RAT ride along the Keenland Drive/Rock Creek Drive bikeway (starting at Fossil Creek High School), then heading north along the Remington Bikeway. (If you watch closely, you’ll see the signs off to the side starting about half way into the video.) A one hour ride is condensed down into less than 3 minutes, so you’ll get a sense of what the ride is like (how often we stop and talk, point things out, etc.) but you won’t get the details.