Bike race affects bike shops, riding interest

Annual event in Colorado Springs boosts area economy

Bike Race Impacts on Colorado Springs

The USA Pro Challenge bike race is exciting for serious bicycle enthusiasts, but it also brings a positive impact on bike sales, tourism and overall interest in the sport.

Several bike shop owners told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that they've seen small sales increases before Thursday's race and expect larger increases for a short period after the race.

The casual rider, the weekend rider, we've talked with a lot of them in the past few weeks," said Ryan Campo, general manager of Criterium Bicycles.  "They're looking into bikes and equipment because they've again found that encouragement."

Campo said his shop already has rented nearly all of its 35 rental bikes for the weekend, to tourists who added riding to their trips after hearing about the race.

Outside Criterium before Thursday's race, a marketing team from Connecticut-based Cannondale showed off its new bike models and sponsored promotional rides.

"We had about 25 people this morning show up, and we did a road bike ride and a guided mountain bike ride," said Cannondale spokesman Kevin Costa.  "We had a lot of fun.  It's a great thing that gets a lot of people out of their houses and get to see an actual race venue in their own backyard.  So it's really cool."

Cannondale also had a team entered in the race.

Two visitors from Kalamazoo, Michigan -- Jamie Clark and Mark Wright -- made their third trip to the race.

"We left yesterday afternoon," Wright said.  "We drove straight through and haven't slept yet."

"There's some epic mountain bike races in Michigan," Clark said.  "But nothing at this caliber on the road."

Isaac Ross, 15, rides with a junior racing team in Colorado Springs.  He said interest in pro racing is expanding.

"There's actually several people I know who said they're excited about the race without even riding at all," he said.

Costa of Cannondale described the race as "a huge deal" that many other communities would love to have.

"You guys are lucky to have this," he said.

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