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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of June 4 - 10, 2003


‘Pack riders’ create concerns on bike paths

Express Staff Writer

In international cycling parlance, the French word is "peloton," or "group," but the racing strategy is more commonly known among U.S. cyclists as "pack riding."

However, to Shelly Preston, trails and special projects coordinator for the Blaine County Recreation District, "pack riding" is a new hazard on bike paths.

"They’re very intimidating," Preston told recreation district directors at their board meeting Thursday, May 29, as she described groups of colorfully dressed and helmeted sports bikers zipping along often at speeds of 30 miles per hour in tight formation and bearing down on slower riders or hikers.

Preston said several pedestrians on the paved path from Ketchum to Hailey said they were slightly injured last year when bikers collided with them.

"Trails are no place for them," Preston asserted. "They (the pack riders) see the path as a substitute for the highway."

But, she said, "pack riders" have registered their own complaints—unleashed dogs that suddenly become obstructions and potential hazards for bikers unable to brake fast enough.

The groups often are as large as 10 to 14 riders, Preston explained.

With bikers complaining that dogs on the paths should be leashed and hikers complaining about speeding bikers, Preston commented wryly, "Everybody wants their own private Idaho."

District Director Mary Austin Crofts observed that "if everyone would be courteous, it would be a wonderful world."

District board chair Keith Perry suggested, and Austin Croft and Preston agreed, the district should undertake a courtesy education program through bike sports shops and among bikers.

The idea of courtesy patrols to caution "pack riders" about their speed was tabled for the time being. Talk of requiring leashes on dogs on the path was rejected.

In other recreation district action, the board:

  • Supported a proposed program to raise some $28,000 through advertising to offset the costs of Wednesday-through-Saturday ski season bus service between Ketchum and Galena Lodge.

  • Finalized plans for the Saturday, June 14, Summer Benefit at Galena Lodge, a $10 per-person barbecue hosted by the Friends of Galena and the Trails, which is the benefactor of the North Valley trail system.

  • Reviewed a final financial report on ski activities for the 2002-2003 season showing $295,161.31 in total revenues from season and day passes and donations.

  • Received results of a survey answered by 533 season ski pass purchasers about their ski trail choices and satisfaction with the North Valley trails system.

  • Reviewed a preliminary sketch of the new 3,000-square-foot Youth Center facility that will be operated by the recreation district at the old Wood River High school. Included in the facility are computers for students, billiards, Ping-Pong, arcade games, a lounge and a stage for performances.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.