Steamboat Springs — The demand is there, but bike tour operators say current regulations have kept them from offering guided mountain bike rides on local U.S. Forest Service land.
When J.R. Thompson started Spindle 1 Bike Tours in Steamboat Springs four years ago, the former professional mountain biker was hoping to offer more than road biking trips, which have become the staple of his business. He said he met with the Forest Service but was told a permit could not be issued for his proposed mountain bike trips on Forest Service land. A Forest Service official said last week that permitted bike tours still may be a couple of years away.
“This is a topic I’ve got plenty of personal interactions with,” Thompson said.
He envisions being able to show off the area’s premier trails to visitors who are unfamiliar with the region and hesitant to explore on their own. That includes popular rides like the 26-mile Continental Divide Trail that starts at Dumont Lake on Rabbit Ears Pass and shoots riders out at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.