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'Share the Love Cycle’ put heart in Spoketober

James Flint

The “Share the Love Cycle” event showcased the cycling community’s heart and passion on Oct. 7 to 9 during Durango’s inaugural Spoketober, a monthlong cycling celebration.

On a beautiful, crisp fall weekend, the Durango community, along with professional bike mechanics from Scott Sports, the Silver Stallion Bicycle & Coffee Works, and local bike shops, gathered to collect, repair and donate more than 80 bicycles to the Navajo Nation. Not only did the “Share the Love Cycle” event generate more than 80 bicycles to be donated, it also helped keep old bikes and bike parts out of the landfill.

The “Share the Love Cycle” event was created by Teal Stetson-Lee, a former professional mountain biker who grew up in Durango and attended Fort Lewis College, and is currently an ambassador for Scott Sports.

In regards to the event, Stetson-Lee said, “Our event was an exemplification of our community values with a focus on repurposing old bikes and parts to create upcycled bike magic, keeping bikes and parts out of the landfill through direct metal recycling, deepening our cross-cultural sharing and bike mechanic skills, and giving all bikes away to our friends on the Navajo Nation.”

Discussions about the importance of “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” thankfully have become a part of “business as usual,” but often, there is more conversation than action. The “Share the Love Cycle” was a perfect example of businesses, organizations and the community coming together to benefit under and unserved communities.

Throughout the weekend, Buckley Park was filled with professional mechanics from Scott Sports and Durango bike shops, students from the Silver Stallion & Coffee Works Bike Tech Program, and volunteers from the Durango community who showed up with their toolboxes and a willingness to help the cause. There was a steady flow of Durango residents dropping off old bikes and bike parts that were then repaired by the volunteers.

Garth Spencer, the marketing director for Scott Sports USA, said, “We’re super excited to be here with Scott Sports. We’re incredibly lucky to be able to work with Silver Stallion, Durango Cyclery and everyone else involved with Bike Tech to be able to collect bikes from the community and work alongside some amazing mechanics from all the local bike shops and all the folks from Bike Tech to be able to get them together. I think, all in all, we rebuilt and refurbished close to 80 bicycles that Silver Stallion is going to take on back down to Gallup. And just to be a part of this and meet all these incredible people has been truly a privilege, and I’m so happy that Scott Sports has given us the ability to come down here and help out with this.”

Chad Meekhof, a teacher at Rehoboth High School and the Project Bike Tech Class, said, “We’ve got eight students here this weekend that got to jump in with all these professional mechanics, apply skills we’ve already learned in class, continue them, and the event provided such great exposure to see what's going outside of just our classroom.”

The “Share the Love Cycle” event was a recipient of a Lodger’s Tax Local Event Marketing Grant, and the funds were used to hire students from the Silver Stallion program to design the event poster as well as create a video edit recapping the event.

“I’m very grateful to Visit Durango for the generous marketing grant that supported our first-year “Share the Love Cycle” event to pay for a beautiful poster, produced by a local graphic designer and an event recap video created by a rider from the Silver Stallion devo program, which serves kids on the Navajo Nation,” Stetson-Lee said. “It was amazing. The whole weekend was incredible. Everybody showed up and just made this whole thing happen, and I feel really lucky to have been a part of all the different communities connecting with each other. I think it was 80 bikes we ended up building.”

The “Share the Love Cycle” is one of the many recipients of the Lodgers Tax Local Event Marketing Grants. Visit Durango, the Event Committee and the city of Durango worked together to award $120,000 in event marketing grants in 2022 and look forward to continuing this program in 2023.

It was incredible to see the Durango community come together with our neighbors and friends to bring the “Share the Love Cycle” to life. Like the mountain bike pioneer, Gary Fisher once said, “Anyone who rides a bike is a friend of mine.”

James Flint is marketing and events coordinator at Visit Durango.