Scott Mercier: Mind, body, spirit and Pedaleando | PostIndependent.com

Scott Mercier: Mind, body, spirit and Pedaleando

Scott Mercier
Ride Clean

Community Pedaleando. When I heard this name I thought, Community Pedaleando? What a great name for an event created to celebrate cycling and health.

The second annual Community Pedaleando will take place in the North Face Park in Carbondale on June 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be a family-friendly group ride, music, a pump track and a bike rodeo.

This year's event is the brainchild of the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, the Aspen Community Foundation, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, and the Valley Settlement.

These groups came together and asked an important question: "How do we promote cycling to people who don't ride?" They recognized bikes are universal, and that while many in the valley view bikes as a form of recreation and health, bikes are also a means of transportation.

And while the event is grounded in cycling, it also is a celebration of what the community has to offer for health, wellness and sustainability. Some of the opportunities available include summer camps, reading programs and mobile dental. Scholarships will be offered by ACES for its kids' summer' camps at their Rock Bottom Ranch facility, and parents and kids will get to learn about many free summer opportunities offered through AVSC. Both of the programs offer a great way for kids to learn about the mountain environment — and to have a blast doing it!

Pedaleando was created with the child in mind. There will be bikes and helmets for those who don't have them. There will be a raffle for tons of awesome prizes, and there also are numerous refurbished bikes that will be given away. The food promises to be terrific, and both adults and kids can earn a free lunch simply by participating in fun events. Rock Bottom Ranch and AVSC will provide scholarship opportunities for their summer programs.

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John Fox-Rubin, of Valley Settlement, hopes Pedaleando will "help families celebrate the freedom of mobility provided by bicycles. Bicycles are very liberating as they are uniquely economical and exciting at the same time."

A child with a bike has a greatly expanded horizon. He or she can be more self-reliant and not rely on someone to drive him or her to the library, a park or to a friends' house. A child with a bike can take enormous stress and pressure off a mom, dad or guardian. Just make sure the little guys and gals are wearing a helmet to protect their noggins from the inevitable crashes.

At its core, this is why Community Pedaleando was created: to get bikes into the hands of kids and families who don't have them. And to introduce them to riding both for pleasure and for transportation.

Mind, Body, Spirit; we use these words so often they have almost become a cliche. And yet, that is exactly what we promote when we give a child a bike.

So, come to Carbondale on June 10 — with, or without a bike — and celebrate cycling in the Roaring Fork Valley for kids. As the name Community Pedaleando suggests, let's go for a community ride!

Scott Mercier represented Team USA at the 1992 Olympic Games and had a five-year professional career with Saturn Cycling and The U.S. Postal Services teams. He currently works as a financial advisor in Aspen and can be reached at scottmercier24 @gmail.com.