COLORADO SPRINGS — The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of many fundraisers that non-profit groups rely on to do their work. "A lot of non-profits like ours have these fairly large holes, and none of us want to let staff loose. We still have a mission. We still have work to do,” said Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC), Executive Director, Susan Davies.
For two decades the Trails and Open Space Coalition’s largest fundraiser of the year has been the Starlight Spectacular. Supporters getting together for food, music, and a mass, after dark bicycle ride on city trails. "A fun event. We'd get close to a thousand people outdoors, all on bikes, at night, in costumes, It was just such fun and it was a $70 thousand event. And it went away." Davies says it will be back, but all the people getting together during the pandemic was not wise.
It is close to 30% of the non-profit’s budget. TOSC staff rallied to create a COVID safe option to off-set the budget losses. It is new kind of bikes on trails event called the Urban Trail Challenge. "We don't call it virtual because people are going to be out doing this bike ride. They just won't do it with a thousand people," said Davies.
You sign up, get instructions, report results, and find out winners all on-line. The action happens outside on trails. Local trail pros have created 20 courses on urban trails. You and whoever you feel COVID safe cycling with, go out and explore as many as you can over the weekend. It is not timed, but you can compete. “We're creating some of these challenges so that people can dress up, or they can have pictures taken next to a cool piece of artwork and at the end we're going to have some grand prizes," said Davies.The event is Friday to Sunday, September 25th, 26th and 27th. Register through the Trails and Open Space coalition website.