From the pages of Peak Region Cyclist. Local rider Ed Bidinotto spent countless hours and miles navigating Pikes Peak-area roads while collecting information for his new book "Cycling The Springs." Peak Region Cyclist publisher David Pico stopped Ed long enough to toss a few questions his way. Here is the interview.
What is cycling to you?
Cycling has become somewhat of a lifestyle to me, especially over the past 4 years. I’ve made so many great friends because so many of us share this sport that takes us so many places. I realize how important my friends are to me and that even though we love cycling – it’s secondary to those quality people I’ve met.
What made you decide to write a cycling book?
Since I lead rides for the Colorado Springs Cycling Club and North Colorado Springs Cyclists over the past couple of years, plus the Potomac Pedalers back east out of Washington DC years ago, I realize that people enjoy new and different routes that are safe, challenging and have great scenery. I just started compiling these routes and I have probably 150 more variations on rides throughout our region. Since I already had route sheets created, the rest was trying to give it a local flavor and learn about the area.
How many road routes does your book uncover and what areas do your routes cover?
I have over 40 road rides in my book that take in rides from Morrison, Castle Rock, Monument, Palmer Lake, the Black Forest and all of Colorado Springs, North, South, East and West. I have not ventured down to Pueblo because at the moment there are only a handful of really good rides down in that area.
How many miles does it take to put together a book like yours?
I could not even begin to tell you how many miles I have ridden and driven. The book took over a year to compile all of these rides, map out rest stops, make sure they were safe, uncover all the new developments that are popping up. I have driven my car through snowstorms in Palmer Lake mapping out new areas. It has been a blast. I have ridden all of these rides multiple times and know them intimately.
What target of people will read your book? The hardcore cyclists, the recreational cyclist, the touring cyclist…?
This book has more appeal to the recreational cyclist and some touring cyclists. Hard core people tend to do the same routes over and over but the recreational cyclists want different areas every ride…and that was my goal – to provide one new street, turn or whatever each ride. I have sold the book to triathelete coaches who want different training grounds for their clients – some flat areas, some hills and others want long hard hilly rides..so I tried for a good mix.
How did you start the process, and did that process evolve during the book development?
The first part was compiling all of the route sheets, making sure I had a map of each area and ride and also I had to go ride or drive each route to make sure that I knew where all the rest stops would be. I also had to modify each map so I didn’t copywright them. Then came the hard part. I started north and had to find interesting facts about the area, and then describe each route. It was pretty long and arduous. Once I did that I had a friend do all the book layout of route sheets, etc so we met many times to get it right. Then the cover, the back cover and I read 2 self-publishing books in the process. Finally I had to get about 15 quotes to see who could print this for me since I self-published. When you get the books delivered it is a real thrill and it’s even better when you sell the first one.
Going out and riding your bike sure seems like a great way to spend your time. At any point did the book become a job instead of a passion?
Never. I always had fun with this and never looked at it as a project – it was fun from the start to the finish but I was happy when it was done.
The road routes that you highlight in your book lists everything from a summary of the route, and thoughts on the route, to mileage and grade of the roads, which makes for an excellent guide book. What possessed you to become so detailed in your highlights?
People like facts, the climbers want to know elevation over a certain distance. The recreational cyclists want to know where the next coffee shop or restaurant it. I also made the book so you can link up routes or you can do portions of the routes – notice they are all loop rides. That’s what took so long to figure out. It was great fun – kind of like being a detective figuring out how to get from one road to another and have water every 20 miles or so on the longer rides. I love this type of detail.
Did you learn anything new about what our region has to offer cyclists in the time that you spent out on the roads?
I am totally amazed at what developments I’ve found, the dead ends and the dirt roads. I know a lot of developments that are growing and when these get completed ... look out! We are going to have a ton of new rides in our region. Right now because the economy is slow, a lot of roads aren’t paved or developments aren’t finished and linked up to main roads but this is happening and I suspect in another year or so – we’ll be having even more fun. We live in an incredible area for cycling. I hope that people take time to do my routes or portions of them or even get with me and come on a ride. I will ride at any pace.
What's next for Ed Bidinotto?
I am in the process of making laminated grab-and-go road cycling maps for our area. I am also expanding my business so that I lead customized road cycling tours of the Pikes Peak Region and also set up restaurants, hotels and other accommodations for folks coming into town. The possibilities are endless.
Editor's note: You can find the book at these bike shops: ProCycling, Criterium, Old Town and Ted's. You can order it at cyclingthesprings.com. Or, if you live in Colorado Springs, you can call Ed at 331-3976 and he'll drop one off for you.