Sarahjean O’Neill

Sarahjean O’Neill rides her bicycle Friday afternoon down Second Street.

When it comes to bikes, Laramie residents are busy people.

The last few years have seen a number of bike-related projects come to fruition thanks to bike-loving volunteers. A symposium today aims to publicize those efforts.

The Laramie Bicycle Symposium is scheduled to run from 4-8 p.m. today in the meeting area above the Pedal House at 207 S. First St. The event is free to the public, and drinks and snacks will be provided.

Organizer Jessica Flock, Pedal House co-owner, said she wants to spread the word about how much work has been done on behalf of cycling.

“There’s a whole lot of really great things going on and great people working on improving cycling in Laramie,” she said. “People should know about them.”

Six speakers are on the schedule, including Flock herself, who is set to talk about the installation of new bike racks in downtown Laramie. That work began about five years ago when Laramie Main Street put out a call for artist submissions and offered a prize for bike rack designs that highlighted Laramie culture and history.

Since then, colorful bike racks in a variety of sizes have been installed throughout the downtown district. Flock said still more are coming, including a couple off-curb, high-capacity racks.

Amber Travsky is set to talk about the Medicine Bow Rail Trail, which was completed about 10 years ago along the abandoned Laramie, Hahn’s Peak and Pacific Railroad line through the Snowy Range.

“She’s been the catalyst and the strong proponent of doing that for the last 20 years,” Flock said of Travsky’s efforts.

The trail features a wide, flat surface, gentle grades and smooth curves, along with multiple trailheads from the Colorado border north to Lake Owen. The trail is perfect for mountain bikes, horses and foot traffic, and even skis and snowshoes in the winter.

Planning for the trail began in 2001 through Laramie BikeNet.

Evan O’Toole, also with Laramie BikeNet, will talk about trail-building work taking place on a section of state land just east of town known as the Schoolyard Trail System.

Almost 10 miles of single-track, multi-use trails are set for construction in coming years, with several miles already in place and seeing heavy use. The section sits adjacent to the Jacoby Ridge Rural Trail just east of Jacoby Golf Course.

Jenn Hess is set to talk about a mountain bike camp for women that she started in the summer, called the Rowdy Gowdy Women’s Camp. Aimed at female riders of all abilities, the camp takes place at Curt Gowdy State Park.

Dan McCoy, who is coordinating a new degree at the University of Wyoming in natural resources recreation and tourism, is scheduled to talk about Laramie’s recent designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. UW was recently designated a Bicycle Friendly Campus.

McCoy was also part of an effort to create a new community bike map that’s now available online.

The map lays out the best routes of bike travel through town, as well as routes that cyclists should avoid for safety reasons, such as Grand Avenue and Third Street. Laramie BikeNet spearheaded the project.

“We’re hoping to make cycling more enjoyable and inform the community about where to do so safely,” he said.

Melanie Arnett, a member of the Pilot Hill Project Committee, is set to close the event by talking about the Pilot Hill Project, an effort to purchase about 5,500 acres of open space between Laramie and the Pole Mountain Unit of the Medicine Bow National Forest.

Once completed, the parcel would be open for public recreation, creating even more cycling opportunities.

Flock said she’d like to see future work focus on safer ways for children to ride bikes to school as well as more communication between cyclists and motorists.

She said she hopes that as people learn about all the bike-related work taking place around town, they’ll be motivated to pitch in with their own ideas and efforts.

“They should and join us and continue to be part of this really great movement for improving cycling in Laramie,” she said.

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