Rolling into spring

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The location and the organizers might be new, but the Golden Cruise seems to still be on a roll.

The first bicycle cruise of 2013 took off on April 30 in spite of an uncertain springtime weather forecast.

The theme, matching the city’s own motto, was “Where the West Lives.”

Golden resident Sophie Scully, wearing a Native American headband with some feathers to match the western theme, was among the first cruise participants.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Scully said. “My best memories in Golden have been on the Cruise.”

Now in its seventh year, the Golden Cruise has grown into a summertime tradition for fans of fun and cycling in the city. This year however, the cruise underwent some modifications, in the form of the Golden Civic Foundation taking the handlebars.

District 2 City Councilor Marcie Miller, who also works with the Civic Foundation, said she had participated in the cruise for the last couple of years, and seen the event’s growing pains as it started attracting hundreds of riders each month, outgrowing its birthplace in the parking lot next to Woody’s Pizza at 1305 Washington Ave.

“In the height of summer, it was getting up to around 400 people,” Miller said. “It’s such a great family event with kids and grandparents though. I didn’t want to see it die.”

After Miller spoke with cruise founder and Woody’s General Manager Mike Helms, as well as with other bicycle-related organizations around town, two problems were clear, she said. The ride required more volunteer support, and a larger venue. The move to the library parking lot solved the second problem, but volunteer staffing remained a quandary.

Then it occurred to Miller, the Golden Civic Foundation works with dozens of nonprofit organizations with volunteer networks of their own.

“Why couldn’t those nonprofits pitch in for a share of the revenue?” Miller said.

A new fundraising system was created.

Each cruise will now be staffed by a volunteer organization. At the end of the 2013 cruise season, each one of those organizations will receive one-seventh of the beer sale revenue from the entire summer (ensuring even volunteers at a rained out event will receive something). The volunteer groups will also be able to set up their own booth at the cruise, and keep whatever revenue they generate.

The April ride was supported by 20 volunteers from the Mitchell Elementary PTA.

Pam Waltz, co-president of the PTA, said the group quickly said yes when approached by the Civic Foundation.

“We pretty much do anything we can do to make money for our school,” Waltz said while her son, and other Mitchell students milled around, waiting for the ride.

Other students rode bikes around the parking lot, chasing after the Mitchell Mustang mascot, who also proved to be proficient on two wheels.

Miller said another change for this year’s cruises will be an increase in safety awareness.

St. Anthony’s hospital representatives will have a tent at the cruises, offering free kids bike helmets for a suggested $5 donation. The cruise will also feature route marshals, and all participants will now be required to fill out a liability waiver.

The waiver can be filled out online and printed ahead of time, by going to www.goldencivicfoundation.org.

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