Skip the hills, try "Pedal the Plains"


Crowley County offers some beautiful views. - BRIENNE BOORTZ
  • Crowley County offers some beautiful views.

Back in 2011, I wrote about Crowley County, which had the unenviable distinction of being the poorest county in the state. 

Crowley was once as American as apple pie. In fact, it was places like Crowley, which grew the sugar beets that once were used to fill the country's sugar bowls, that made apple pie possible. But like other farming towns, Crowley hasn't fared so well over the decades and by the time I visited, it was slowly dying. 

I can still remember the town's leaders talking about the Pedal the Plains Bicycle Tour, which is now hosted by the Denver Post. Back then, it was a brand new idea, a way to get tourists to check out the flatlands of Colorado. The best part was that it would bring much-needed dollars to this county and the ones around it, all of which struggle to make ends meet.

Pedal the Plains is now in its fourth year. I haven't personally ridden the tour, though I've returned to Crowley to ride my bike down the lonesome roads. The people are incredibly kind, the scenery serene, and the roads long and flat. It's the type of place that makes you feel like you could keep riding forever. 

This year's tour is a bit north of Crowley, but still in Colorado's farming communities. So if you're curious about the plains, or you love riding flatlands, or you want to help out farmers and rural folks, check out the tour this year. Here's the information:

Julesburg, Holyoke and Sterling host 2015 route

​​DENVER — Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 — The fourth annual Denver Post Pedal The Plains Bicycle Tour will launch from Julesburg, Colorado for a three-day, 155 mile journey through eastern Colorado’s high plains.

From Sept. 18-20, participants will ride to stops in three host communities: Julesburg, Holyoke and Sterling. Off the bike, riders will enjoy live performances by the Flobots and Rapidgrass Quintet.

“After four great years, Pedal The Plains is the best way to experience communities on Colorado’s eastern plains,” said Hickenlooper. “We are always excited to saddle up with friends and family while visiting some incredible towns.”

The ride across Colorado’s eastern plains is a celebration of the state’s growing cycling culture, combining great rides, delicious eats and close friends. Billed as “a ride for the rest of us,” Pedal The Plains is set in the heart of western agriculture, home of the frontier spirit that inspires participants to keep pedaling.

For the first time ever, the Tour’s route will roll across the border into Nebraska. Riders will pedal away the weekend between entertainment and festivities, eat meals made with locally raised beef, pork and lamb as well as local produce and stay in accommodations ranging from tents to bed and breakfasts. Participants can enjoy their time off the bicycle seat as much as on it. From pie-eating contests to Odell Brewing Co. beer gardens to live music and games, Pedal The Plains has it all.

The Denver Post Community Foundation, which has managed the internationally renowned cycling event Ride The Rockies through 30 successful years, is also the organizer for this uniquely Colorado event.

“Our world-class team running Ride The Rockies has successfully built Pedal The Plains into an annual end-of-the-cycling-season bash not to be missed,” said Dean Singleton, Chairman of The Denver Post.

Pedal The Plains will provide numerous economic benefits and opportunities for host communities’ lodging, restaurant, retail businesses, as well as entertainment, community meals, home stays and transportation.

Established four years ago, Pedal The Plains is a celebration of Colorado’s agricultural roots and the state’s frontier heritage on the Eastern Plains. 1,000 cyclists are expected to take part in this year’s ride.

Proceeds from the ride will benefit The Denver Post Community Foundation in support of the Colorado Future Farmers of America Foundation and Colorado 4-H. Pedal The Plains and The Denver Post Community Foundation provide a $6,000 grant to both Colorado 4H and FFA, a $3,000 grant to each of the three host communities; the host communities then choose a local organization of their choice.

Viaero Wireless, the Tour’s presenting sponsor, is joined in supporting the ride by founding partners State of Colorado, Western Dairy Association, Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy and Suncor Energy.

“There is no greater day for a homegrown community business than one where we have a chance to give back,” said Frank Dirico, President, Viaero Wireless. “We are excited to help bring Pedal The Plains to the communities of Julesburg, Holyoke and Sterling.”

Pedal The Plains’ ride offerings include the 3-Day Tour, Century Ride and Family Fun Ride. Online registration is closed, but walk-on registration is available for all of the Tour’s ride offerings. Visit for more information.

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