For bicyclists, Durango is golden

On Monday, Durango joined the rarefied company of cities that have been named gold-level Bicycle Friendly Communities.

Locals who had pushed for the designation said Durango has a lot going for it when it comes to cycling, from the elite US Pro Cycling Challenge, which will start here in August, to the bike lanes that were included as part of the Florida Road reconstruction.

“No doubt the work of the entire community helped us achieve the Gold,” Mary Oswald, chair of Bicycle Friendly Durango, said in a news release on the announcement.

Mayor Doug Lyon, an avid cyclist and dean of the business school at Fort Lewis College, said cycling is an economic driver here.

“It is anticipated that the bike industry in Durango brings in several million dollars annually with the seven bike shops, trails and tourism, events, the 18-time Fort Lewis College National Championship bike team and the professional athletes who live and work here,” he said in the news release.

In 2008, Durango was rated a Silver Bicycle Friendly Community by the American League of Bicyclists.

Bicycle friendly communities are judged on how well they provide safe accommodation to bicycles and encourage people to ride for recreation and transportation.

Before today’s announcement only 14 communities had achieved the gold-level designation, including Tucson, Ariz., Madison, Wis., and Steamboat Springs. In addition to Durango, Missoula, Mont., also joined the list of gold communities today.

Only three communities have been designated platinum: Boulder, Davis, Calif., and Portland, Ore.

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