Spectacular signups
Broadened marketing seems to be working for annual late-night bike ride in Garden of Gods

       If any Westsiders can't sleep the night of Saturday, June 17, they might try counting bicycle headlights.
       There should be more than enough to get an observer bleary-eyed, with registrations up about 35 percent this year for the 12th annual Starlight Spectacular bicycle- riding event.
       According to Linda Hodges, assistant director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC), about 600 people have already signed up for the wee-hours two- wheel extravanganza, which is scheduled to leave the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, June 17 and return in time for breakfast a few hours later.
       If the sign-up rate continues, close to 1,500 riders may wind up participating, Hodges predicted. That would easily top the record of 900-plus, set in last year's ride. The record before that (in 2004) had been less than 800.
       She said the increase is likely a result of TOSC expanding its marketing efforts this year to the Denver/Pueblo/Boulder/Salida areas.
       People can register up to the start of the ride. The Spectacular will go on, rain or shine.Participants in past years have ranged from infants to people in their 80s, Hodges said.
       Riders can take either of two routes: a short (14 miles) or long (20 miles) route. The long route will be slightly different this year. It will start with a loop of the Garden of the Gods before going north on 30th Street. After that riders will go east on Garden of the Gods Road and south on Chestnut Street, turning at various streets and eventually reaching the first rest stop at Monument Valley Park. From there, riders will go south to Colorado Avenue, then west through Old Colorado City en route to Balanced Rock and then the Garden of the Gods Trading Post (the next rest stop). Riders will stay in the Garden from that point on as they head back to the Visitor Center.
       The Spectacular is a fund raiser for TOSC, a not-for-profit organization that promotes and protects open space and the 160-some miles of urban trails in El Paso County.
       Pre-ride festivities, including live music, will begin at 10 p.m. at the Visitor Center, Hodges said.
       Prices are $37 for adults, while ages 6 to 15 cost $20. Both costs have increased from 2005.
       For more information, call 633-6884 or go to the website: starlightspectacular.org.

Westside Pioneer article