On Saturday, August 19 a perfect day on the bike starts from Larkspur, Colorado. It’s called the Wacky Bike Ride.
The popular event, which sister and brother Susie and Ted Wargin launched in 2011, still benefits kids. But the new organizer, nonprofit Project ReCycle based in Douglas County, Colorado, has changed just about everything else. The transformation promises to elevate The Wacky to the top of every cyclist’s one-day ride list.
Picture postcard course
Project ReCycle assumed ownership of The Wacky in 2016 with the intention of growing the event into a primary source of support for its charitable work. By connecting kids with bikes, the nonprofit fosters educational achievement and hope for at-risk kids.
After running the 2016 edition with the pre-existing suburban Highlands Ranch venue and routes, Project ReCycle decided to entirely revamp the journey for 2017.
Scenery, challenge, fun and a tailored experience ranked high as priorities for Alberto “AJ” Stapleton, Project ReCycle’s founder and executive director, and Jeff Fleck, founder of Bikes for Tykes and one of Project ReCycle’s board of directors. They’ve partnered with Centura Health’s Castle Rock Adventist Hospital as community sponsor for the event. The hospital also supports the nonprofit.
The new route starts and ends in Larkspur Community Park. All five ride choices follow cycling-friendly roads and trails scented by sun-warmed pine against the backdrop of fourteener Pikes Peak. Distance options include 33, 62, and 100 miles on the road, 18 miles of gravel grinder in Spruce Meadows Open Space and 12 out-and-back miles for families. The sunny and shaded course passes through Monument, Palmer Lake and the Black Forest area, touching northern Colorado Springs.
Relocating the route opened the door to increased challenge and the kind of day that cycling buddies crave and subsequently relive over well-earned beers and tasty eats.
Century participants tackle 6,263 feet of elevation gain. The metric century scores a tough rating too with 4,225 feet of climbing and the 33 milers ascend 2,181 feet. Extra-competitive road riders can opt into The Wacky Strava Challenge, a section of Tomah Road that will yield a King and Queen of The Wacky mountains. Gravel grinders get to decide how many times to repeat the 18 mile loop’s 1,175 feet of giddyup. Families, though, enjoy an easy combination of pavement, off-road and gravel surfaces.
More silly fun
Cyclists whose definition of fun encompasses more than sweat and gears will also find new treats in store, such as volunteers masquerading as Wonder Woman and Spider-Man and friends. The superheroes’ job is to cheer on all cyclists on the Strava segment, creating a Tour de France atmosphere. A well-drilled poms team will welcome families and kids into the food and fun zone.
Plans are in the works for future zany additions to delight bikers. In the meantime, selecting the VIP package promises added relaxation and recovery.
VIP riders receive valet vehicle and bike parking and curbside check-in. Post-ride extras include massage, reserved pavilion seating, a gourmet meal served by wait staff and a freshly washed bike.
All entrants can rely on bike mechanics and nourishment at multiple replenishment stations, a goody bag, spiffy tee shirt and after-party with food, beverages and entertainment. Collectable jerseys by Primal Wear are available for purchase separately. For many participants, however, the ultimate reward will be knowing they’ve positively affected the futures of many children.
Better futures for local youth
Since its inception in 2010, Project ReCycle has lifted the lives of over 10,000 kids by providing them with bikes. The nonprofit currently donates on average 1,500 bicycles annually through two initiatives.
The Dream Bike Program collaborates in a hands-on way with local schools. Kids earn a bike by improving grades, attendance and respect. Each child’s progress is measured versus his or her personal baseline.
“We want to make citizens out of these children, to help them succeed by seeing how personal effort in school can create pride of ownership through earning a bike,” says Stapleton. “Of course, we also want to see them smile a lot.”
Through the second initiative, Bikes for Tykes, over 44 social service agencies dispense bikes to kids who, as a result of abuse or neglect, don’t know the meaning of home.
“The bike becomes a constant for these kids, adding stability in a world of change,” explains Fleck. “It gives them a sense of freedom and helps build the self-esteem that their life situation frequently tears down.”
When it’s time to allocate bikes together with helmet, lock and bicycle skills training, the nonprofit throws a big party. “We make it a big deal because that’s what it is for these kids,” Stapleton says.
“We want them to feel like it’s Christmas.”
Which is how he and Fleck want riders to feel at the Wacky Bike Ride.
About The Wacky Bike Ride
The brainchild of sister and brother Susie and Ted Wargin, the Wacky Bike Ride’s first edition ran in 2011. The pair of avid cyclists offered several routes which looped out of Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Proceeds benefited the Douglas County Educational Foundation. They turned the undertaking over to Project ReCycle in 2016. The 2017 edition is an all-new version dedicated to creating the organized dream ride. Additional sponsors are: Next Chapter Construction Management; Low Voltage Installations, Inc.; KPMG; Frame de art; Christopherson Mechanical, Inc. and Xperience Promotions. Nuun’s electrolyte enhanced drink tablets meet rider hydration needs and Safeway supplies food for the replenishment stations. Find out more and register at https://wackybikeride.com/. Share the all-new Wacky Bike Ride experience by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.
About Project ReCycle
Since 2010 Project ReCycle, a Douglas County, Colorado 501(c)3 organization, has refurbished bicycles primarily for kids in need. Through the Dream Bike Program it aims to positively influence children’s academic behavior. In 2012 the nonprofit merged with Bikes for Tykes Colorado which works with social service agencies to provide stability for children living in foster or displaced homes. Project ReCycle sources its bikes through donations and recycles unusable parts. In 2016 the organization assumed ownership of the Wacky Bike Ride. Major support for Project ReCycle comes from American Family Insurance; American Furniture Warehouse; Walmart; Xperience Colorado; Feedback Sports; Love, Sweat & Gears and Primal Wear. Additional support is provided by Mobile Bike Man; Dinkel CPA Services, LLC; Recycle Bicycles Program; Performance Soccer, LLC; Highlands Ranch Metro District; Trek; The Wellness Bridge; One Stop Site Shop; ebo electric bike outfitters; Malimaz Designs and Fuicelli & Lee, P.C. Learn more about Project ReCycle’s passion for what bicycles do for kids at https://projectrecycle.org/ and on Project ReCycle’s Facebook page.
For more information contact:
Jeff Fleck, President and CEO, Xperience Promotions