Copper gets ready for Cyclefest |

Copper gets ready for Cyclefest

COPPER MOUNTAIN – A new event is cruising into the Rocky Mountains and parking itself at Copper Mountain – and it has a few homeowners concerned.

Cyclefest comes to Copper Mountain Aug. 23-24, sponsored by Race Production Management (RPM), the organizer of the U.S. World Superbike race in Laguna, Calif. This isn’t a gathering of sweaty hardbodies on bicycles. This is for people who like bikes with motors – streetbikes, cruisers, dual-sport bikes and dirtbikes.

Unlike most motorcycle gatherings, which are centered around one manufacturer, Cyclefest is bringing five manufacturers together: Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Aprilia, Buell and Triumph. It’s a first-ever event for the Rocky Mountain region, and officials said they hope to bring it back annually.

Manufacturers will provide demo bikes for test rides, and there will be a variety of after-market motorcycle part and accessory vendors. Even kids (5- to 12-years-old) can test ride bikes. The event will feature a kids demo area complete with dirtbikes, protective gear, instructors and ATV demos.

Event promoters also are organizing group rides departing from Copper Mountain each day. Road ride options include loops through Steamboat, Buena Vista and Minturn, or a ride to the top of Independence Pass.

Professionals will lead the dual-sport rides, which will follow the road over Fremont Pass to Leadville and then take off up dirt roads to Mosquito or Hagerman’s Pass.

Event organizers have included a supermoto race in the weekend’s festivities – featuring motocross champion Jeremy McGrath, superbike champion Kevin Schwantz and Mike Metzger, -Games gold medalist.

Cyclefest includes live music by four different bands throughout the weekend; Three Degrees of Freedom, Big Wu, Kory Brunson and Shanti Groove.

Copper officials are excited about the new event and its timing. In Summit County, the peak summer season typically lasts from early July to mid-August. Because the event is scheduled for the end of August – after many tourists have headed home – Cyclefest will bring business to Copper Mountain during an otherwise slow weekend, said C.J. Julin, executive director at the Village at Copper.

“For the merchants, this is a great thing,” Julin said. “There’s going to be a lot of people at the resort – a lot of people with disposable income. It all works.”

Copper Mountain homeowner Brad Leonard, who is concerned about potential noise and dirt from the event, isn’t so sure a motorcycle gathering is what Copper really needs. If Copper Mountain is trying to become an outdoor mecca for bicyclists and fly fishermen, he said, they probably shouldn’t be attracting events focused on motorized vehicles.

“I have talked with other homeowners who are concerned because most of the people I know like quiet recreations,” Leonard said. “We’re thinking it’s a good weekend to be someplace (else).”

“I’m being open-minded,” said Tom Malmgren, a resident and owner of Carbonate Real Estate and Property Management at Copper Mountain. “I hope it works well, but I do have concerns.”

Speaking at a July meeting of the Copper Mountain Consolidated Metropolitan District, the resort’s vice president of operations, Jim Spenst, said the idea of bringing motor cycles to Copper was much discussed before the event was booked. But, he said, it’s important to try new things.

The ATV and dirtbike demos will be held in the Alpine lot, away from the resort’s residential areas. That is also where the supermoto race will begin. Event officials will apply magnesium chloride to the dirt lot before the weekend to minimize any dust problems.

Dan Murphy, president of RPM, said homeowner concerns should be alleviated after the event is complete.

“Give us a chance,” he said.

Motorcyclists get a bad rap because of false stereotypes, Murphy said. Many motorcycle owners these days are 40 and older and many have families. According to Superbike race statistics, motorcycle owners’ average annual income ranges from $36,000 to $69,000.

“These are the kind of guys that have an extra $10,000 to $20,000 to spend on a toy,” said Kevin O’Grady, event director.

“I think its fantastic because it brings in new people to the area,” said Frank Inserra, a Copper homeowner and business owner who also owns a motorcyle. “I will be out of town for the weekend, but I wish I was here. I think it’s going to be excellent.”

Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or

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