Broox Pulford plugs Loops four-year anniversary and the power of safe cycling
Since 2008, Broox Pulford has been coordinating and leading Loops, a weekly bike ride following a series of street and trail routes throughout Denver. Cyclists of all skill levels are invited to join the massive free ride, meeting at Crema Coffee House at 7 p.m. every Tuesday, rain or shine. Celebrating Loops Fourth Anniversary this Saturday, June 23, at City Park, Pulford spoke to Westword about the big bike throwdown -- and the camaraderie that comes with group rides and safe cycling.
From Jeff Morris' video, "Loops #200"
Westword: How did Loops begin in 2008?
Sample ride route from Loops, week 208
Broox Pulford: Me, friends Josh Shively, Nigel Penhale and Noah Price got together and decided to go on a bike ride -- we rode around City Park and ended up at The Horseshoe afterwards, and got drinks. As we were riding, we were thinking, "man, we should do this every week, it would be a lot of fun." We're all graphic designers, so we thought we could make fliers -- I had also just started (Denver blog) X Rocks The Spot, and I thought I could post the fliers and make maps (of bike rides) and we could switch off each week. It worked out like that for a while; eventually I took it over, creating the maps and fliers.
Once Twitter and Facebook became a big thing, I promoted through there, as well as the blog. It reached more people, and became a bigger ride as it progressed. People started hearing more about Loops too, just through word of mouth. The first year, in the summer time, we would get maybe twenty people. Now it's closer to fifty or sixty riders every week, and it just keeps growing.
Do you create the maps based on estimations for bigger groups of riders?
Not really? I made a new map every week for a long time -- but I decided it was pretty much of the same parks and was a lot more work than I wanted to take on. I kind of narrowed it down to about six different maps, as opposed to a new one every week. We rotate through those regularly, but there are certain routes that people enjoy more than others. So I try to keep those in heavier rotation.
What is it about those routes that you think riders prefer?
A good balance of uphill and downhill; areas that might have less traffic, so we don't have to deal with cars. Some routes go through downtown or heavier traffic areas, which some people prefer. But some go more on trail, with others prefer. I think there's a positive and negative to both.
When you're on the bike path, you have to be cautious of pedestrians and other people on bikes. When you're in a big group with forty to sixty people, it gets to be a little a little obtrusive to others. We try to communicate with each other -- we have certain codes. If there is a bike coming towards us, we say "bike up," or if we're passing pedestrians we will pass on the left and say "on your left." Or if people are coming towards us, it's "pedestrians up."
Same when when we're on the street -- if there is a car behind us, we yell "car back." It usually means that everyone should ride single file, verses flooding the street. But it doesn't always work out that way. We try to use the codes to communicate within the group.