Teri Vance: From small beginning comes Carson City Celebrity Ride

Nine years ago a small group of Muscle Powered members met Mayor Bob Crowell at his home, and Jeff Potter pedaled the mayor to work on the back of his tandem bicycle.

Over the years, that ride has evolved into the annual Celebrity Ride during National Bike Month.

“It’s a fun event to get people out by directly inviting them to take part in the Bike Month festivities,” said Randy Gaa, president of Muscle Powered. “We have state and local officials come out and enjoy a flat and easy bike ride with us.”

The ride has also become a way to advocate for better access for cyclists and to showcase improvements, such as the added bike lane to downtown Carson City.

“The other part of it is awareness,” Gaa said. “You get much more acquainted with the condition of the street when you’re riding on it. Potholes are a big deal on a bike.”

More than two dozen riders gathered Thursday in McFadden Plaza for the tour of west Carson City.

Before taking off, Crowell addressed the crowd.

“I can’t say enough good things about Muscle Powered,” he said. “In terms of building a community, Muscle Powered has been a big part of that. What they do cuts across the economic barriers of the city by helping to facilitate complete streets and cleaning up their community.

Hat’s off to Muscle Powered — let’s keep up the energy.”

Sheriff Ken Furlong credited the ride for helping to raise awareness and thereby keep the streets safer.

“It highlights a lot of the changes that have taken place over the years as Carson City has become more bicycle friendly,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to communicate that we all share the roads and there are hazards to be aware of.”

The Celebrity Ride is far from being all business, however.

Sue Jones, owner of the Purple Avocado, came with a friend in tow. Inside the front basket of her bike rode her Yorkie poo Bella, or “Bella the Beautiful,” as Jones refers to her.

“She loves bike riding and she’s definitely a community celebrity,” Jones said. “She loves everything. She loves everybody.”

I participated in this year’s ride, and it was fabulous. The weather was warm enough to be outside and cool enough to be comfortable when riding.

The trees and flowers are all in bloom, you catch the scent of lilacs as you ride under the leafy boughs of low-hanging branches.

Traffic was also courteous.

For those of you who missed it, don’t fret.

The West Side Cruiser ride will be 6 p.m. May 24, meeting in the parking lot of the Brewery Arts Center.

It’s also a slow-paced, easy ride through the historic neighborhoods of the west side. My husband came with me last year and had a ball.

He’s one of those who stopped riding bicycles as soon as motorcycles and cars stole his attention. Getting back on a bicycle was like being a kid again — he was popping wheelies and jumping off sidewalks. He’s been looking forward to riding again this year.

It’s the perfect way to get out and have some fun on your bicycle while mingling with the community. Some will show up in costume, others will decorate their bikes. Still others will just enjoy the ride.

Hope to see you there.

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at terivance@rocketmail.com.


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