When the weather starts to cool down and kids are back in school, the annual Salida Bike Fest will take place Sept. 19-22.

“It’s still a great time of year to ride mountain bikes in Salida and bring people in from out of town to experience the fun trails that we have,” organizer Ryan Wiegman of Salida Recreation said.

The bike festival will include races, group rides, parades and a ride down the Monarch Crest Trail.

“It’s all centered around bikes,” Wiegman said. “We’re just trying to get people out, build a community through bikes and have a good time.”

The activities will begin at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19 with the women’s group ride sponsored by Absolute Bikes. The no-drop ride will last about an hour and begin at the caboose in the North F Street parking lot.

On Sept. 20, the Soulride returns with an added costume contest to be judged by Oveja Negra. Beginning at 6 p.m., bikers will pedal through Soulcraft Brewing, 248 W. U.S. 50, then head downtown to visit the four bike-related shops in town, Oveja Negra, Absolute Bikes, SubCulture Cyclery and Salida Bike Co., and return to Soulcraft for a free drink. Reggae band Indubious will also perform at Soulcraft, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 21 will be the busiest day of the festival, starting with the Banana Belt Mountain Bike Race at 9 a.m., two hours earlier than it started in the past. The 25.42-mile race with more than 3,000 feet of climbing will begin downtown and eventually climb up Bear Creek to reach the Rainbow Trail and then descend in the Methodist Mountain Trail System.

After the race, SubCulture Cyclery will sponsor prizes and a meal.

Kids’ bike decorating will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Riverside Park. The decorations will be provided, so kids just need to take their bikes and creativity. Wiegman said a parade will take place after the bikes are decorated, but he isn’t sure of its route yet.

A history tour bike ride sponsored by Absolute Bikes will take place at 4 p.m., and that evening a bike travelogue will be offered in the Salida Rotary Scout Hut.

On Sept. 22, the bike festival will culminate with the 21st annual Monarch Crest Crank. Participants will get shuttled up to the trailhead of the Monarch Crest Trail, then have a guide help them make their way down one of the best mountain bike rides around, followed by an after-party in Riverside Park. The event is a benefit for The Alliance, helping victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of jobs during the festival. Anyone interested in helping can contact Wiegman at SalidaRaces@cityofsalida.com. The Central Colorado Mountain Riders have already agreed to help with the course and other jobs.

For more information about the festival and to register for events, visit SalidaBikeFest.com.

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