Riding into the season

Bike ride brings locals together for enjoyable first ride of the year

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It's a family affair for Craig resident John Jepkema and his kin.

For close to 10 years now, Jepkema, his son, J.D. Jepkema, daughter Julie Mower and grandson Duncan Mower get together for the Where the Hell's Maybell bike ride.

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Jepkema and his family were four of an estimated 200 riders who showed up Saturday for the 21st annual trek to Maybell. The ride, which is not competitive, started from Northwest Storage in Craig and Western Knolls and finished at the Maybell City Park.

"It's a family get together that we have every year," John Jepkema said.

The Craig Parks and Recreation and bike riders started with a cool morning that edged into a sunny day.

"It was absolutely gorgeous," recreation coordinator Pam Maneotis said. "It works out like that every single year."

Around 7:30 a.m. Bill and Kay Stuart of Steamboat Springs were unloading their bikes for the ride.

For Bill, it was one of his first organized rides of the year. For Kay, it was her first organized ride ever.

"It's the first official ride of the season," Bill Stuart said. "It's a good distance and not too hard."

About halfway down the road, the Ridgeview Church of God manned the refreshment stand in Lay.

"That was sweet of them to volunteer their time," Maneotis said.

Younglife volunteers served up pancake breakfasts at the finish in the Maybell City Park.

But not everyone stopped for grub.

John Jepkema, his son and grandson kept on riding.

John Jepkema said his son rode clear to Dinosaur in preparation for longer races later in the season.

"People really enjoy it because it's a nice training ride with great company," John Jepkema said.

John Henry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or jhenry@craigdailypress.com.

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