Sign-ups strong for 11th annual Starlight Spectacular bike event June 18

       Early sign-ups are encouraging for the 11th annual Starlight Spectacular bicycle-riding event Saturday, June 18, which will start at midnight from the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center.
       “It's looking like it's going to be a big crowd,” Linda Hodges, assistant director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC), said June 7. “We have 430 registrations now, where we had 200 at this time last year.”
       A record total of 775 riders registered for the 2004 event, despite foreboding weather that reduced the usual high number of ride-day signups. The event is a fund raiser for TOSC, a not-for-profit organization that promotes and protects the 160-some miles of urban trails in El Paso County.
       Pre-ride festivities for this year's Spectacular will begin at 10 p.m. at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center. There will be music with a DJ, specialty coffee, awards for outlandish outfits and other prizes.
       Riders will go north from the Garden, make their way downtown, and pass through Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs before returning to the Visitor Center. Different designated routes will allow riders to travel between 14 and 22 miles.
       “It's the best time to be had on the Westside that night,” Hodges said.
       The high signup count is occurring in spite of an increase in adult participation costs this year (up $2 from last year's $35). However, the rate for a child age 6 to 15 is $15, compared with last year's $20.
       The cost includes a breakfast afterwards at the Visitor Center.
       Registration can be accomplished at local bike shops in advance or the night of the event.
       As is traditional, the Spectacular will kick off Bike Week. One of the week's events will be a free Bicycle & Trails Festival Saturday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Confluence Park, just east of I-25 and south of the Colorado Avenue bridge. Included will be booths, trails information, competitions, safety information a mechanics' challenge race and kids' bike parades.

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