Giving Thought: Let’s celebrate community Sunday by pedaling together

Tamara Tormohlen
Giving Thought

Remember the first time you rode a bicycle? When you first found your balance and realized that spinning those pedals kind of set you free?

That sense of freedom and mobility is at the heart of the upcoming Community Pedaleando, an event that Aspen Community Foundation (ACF) is proud to sponsor along with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club (AVSC), Valley Settlement, Radio TriColor and the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES).

This second annual family-friendly event (Pedaleando means “pedaling” in Spanish) aims to get folks outside and mobile in a celebration of health and sustainability. Community Pedaleando was started last summer by AVSC to reach out to all in the community, regardless of their skill level or whether they own a bicycle. This introduction to cycling can help families start new traditions and enjoy the outdoors together.

The Pedaleando is Sunday from 10:30 a..m to 2 p.m. at North Face Park in Carbondale, beginning with a short, family-friendly bike ride, followed by an afternoon of family activities, music from DJ Scratch, lunch and information on bike safety and health. It’s all part of an effort to promote cycling as both an enjoyable way to stay healthy and an economic means of transportation.

Don’t have a bicycle for yourself or your kids? No problem — there will be bikes and helmets available to borrow for riders age 7 and older. Families also can learn about summer camps and classes available through AVSC and ACES, including scholarships for ACES’ summer programs at Rock Bottom Ranch near El Jebel. There will be a raffle, with opportunities to win a bike and other prizes.

“We started this event last year as a way to promote AVSC’s free introductory mountain bike clinics, and we are thrilled that it’s grown thanks to our partners,” Executive Director Mark Godomsky said. “We hope many families will come ride with us and learn about youth programs in the Roaring Fork Valley. It’ll be a fun kickoff to a great summer!”

To Andy Davies, director of ACF’s Cradle to Career program, the Pedaleando is a way to support and empower kids through a healthy extracurricular pastime. When families join together in a community activity, they build connections and relationships. ACF has convened meetings since last year which included leaders from the Latino community in the Roaring Fork Valley to create an inclusive, inviting event.

“Youth success is predicated on a healthy community,” Davies said. “Building connections within our community supports the four goals of Cradle to Career: All children will, 1. Be ready for kindergarten, 2. Develop life assets for success, 3. Succeed academically, and 4. Be ready for college and career.”

In order to attract as many participants as possible, both Anglo and Latino, the sponsoring organizations incorporated Spanish-language print and radio marketing into their pre-event plans. Samuel Bernal-Urbina, vice president of Entravision Communications, helped to shape the event with Spanish-speaking families in mind. He feels the Pedaleando marks a significant step toward a valley-wide community event that includes both English and Spanish speakers.

“Being in this area makes kids want to be a part of the beautiful surroundings and participate in all the exciting sports,” Bernal-Urbina said. “I am very happy that these organizers incorporated Spanish into their print and radio advertising. This is really the first step to inclusion, communicating properly and being understood.”

Jon Fox-Rubin, executive director of Valley Settlement in Carbondale, sees the Pedaleando as an investment in community, using bikes to build relationships across and within cultures.

“This is a great way for our diverse community to celebrate the power of mobility provided by a bicycle,” he said.

We hope to see families and children of all ages Sunday at North Face Park in Carbondale. Come out to celebrate pedal power and community.

Tamara Tormohlen is executive director of the Aspen Community Foundation.