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ROLL Bike Art Festival offers a virtual alternative for its 16th year 

click to enlarge SÁNCHEZ MAGUEYES
  • Sánchez Magueyes

For many Colorado Springs residents, cycling plays a large role (no pun intended) in providing exercise, endorphins and a pretty sweet way to roam the city and the region’s mountains. It’s also a sport that can be as social — or as solitary — as the rider wishes, which is highly beneficial given the continuing challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. But that flexibility does not mean that cyclists have been insulated from disappointment when it comes to the collision of contagion and social engagement.

Cycling is a sport that naturally lends itself to social distancing. Unless you’re partnered up on a tandem bike, you tend to want some space between you and other riders and pedestrians.

However, even the typical space between riders is not really enough, given that COVID-19 spreads through airborne droplets on surfaces or in the air. To be better safe than sorry, most cycling organizations have canceled highly anticipated group rides and races for the season — and they aren’t the only cycling-related events that have felt the impact.

As the ROLL Bike Art Festival cruises into its 16th year, it too has found itself affected by COVID-19. Each year, the festival has welcomed bike and art enthusiasts from all over the country to peruse bike-themed art, hang out with other cool cyclists, tour the city on fun group rides and enjoy a few local craft beers while noshing on local food truck cuisine.

This year, Colorado’s restrictions on large gatherings, coupled with the recommendation to stay at home if at all possible, means that festivals of all kinds are simply out of the question for the time being. Forced to shift gears, ROLL 2020 organizers announced via the event’s Facebook page that they will have to postpone the festivities until they can ensure the safety of attendees.

In the interim, fans are invited to attend a virtual art show called PREVIEW ROLL 2020, where they can check out clips of participating artists and watch a live feed of the show’s installation at its home of four years, the Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort. The show will await fans and safer days, or, as the organizers say in their 2020 theme, until they are “LICENSED TO ROLL.”

“This year, we have local, regional, national and international artists,” says Amy Seltzer, one of the event’s original co-creators and an artist and avid cyclist herself. “All of these will be featured at ROLL Bike Art Fest Virtual Preview.”

Virtual attendees can watch the feed and the artist clips via the event’s Facebook page (facebook.com/RollBikeArt). As with the in-person event, they will also be able to purchase the art featured in the clips and have it shipped to their homes.

May 16, 3-8 p.m., facebook.com/RollBikeArt

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