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Work hard, play harder

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Mountain bikers participate in the 21st FSS Cranking Colorado Springs program and explore the Talon Trail at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. The program costs $20 and allows Airmen to ride a new trail after work the first and third Thursday of each month. Equipment can be rented from Outdoor Recreation or participants can use their own. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alison Ramerth)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Mountain bikers participate in the 21st FSS Cranking Colorado Springs program and explore the Talon Trail at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. The program costs $20 and allows Airmen to ride a new trail after work the first and third Thursday of each month. Equipment can be rented from Outdoor Recreation or participants can use their own. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alison Ramerth)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The dirty tires of a mountain bike wait to be used again on a trail ride during the 21st FSS Cranking Colorado Springs program, which is held from 5-8 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month. The program costs $20 and allows Airmen and their families to get out for an evening of fresh mountain air and explore a new trail every time they participate. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The dirty tires of a mountain bike wait to be used again on a trail ride during the 21st FSS Cranking Colorado Springs program, which is held from 5-8 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month. The program costs $20 and allows Airmen and their families to get out for an evening of fresh mountain air and explore a new trail every time they participate. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado -- Sometimes we have those long days at work when we need a good stress reliever, and what better way to let off some steam than to explore local mountain biking trails.

Cranking Colorado Springs is part of a 21st Force Support Squadron program that allows Airmen and their families to get a little fresh mountain air after work from 5-8 p.m. while exploring the many trails around the city, all for the low cost of $20.

Eric Gilster, lead bike and ski technician for the Peterson AFB Recreational Facility, said this program is great because this is among the best cities in the country to experience such a variety of quality trails.

"We have endless amount of trails here," Gilster said. "Every other week we hit a different park or trail so there is always something new."

The only equipment needed is a mountain bike and helmet, both of which can be rented through the program. Gilster said the program offers many different rental bikes for any level of experience.

"All our bikes are within one to two years old," he said. "We just got in eight new Specialized Rockhoppers, but people are welcome to bring their own bike."

According to Gilster, the best part of the program is the variety of trails in this area of the country. By going after work and biking for a few hours, there is no need to set aside an entire day of the weekend to find a new trail, get lost and spend all day figuring out where you are.

For beginners, there is no better way to get into mountain biking, Gilster said. There is a guide to give pointers and keep an eye on everyone. They also carry a tool kit in case of equipment malfunctions.

"There is a max of eight people for this program," he said. "We keep safety in mind. If there are too many people, it gets hard for the guide to keep an eye on everyone.

Being one of the best cities for trails, Gilster also said, "Why not get out and enjoy it? It's green and it's a great workout."

No matter your experience, if you're burning off steam or just wanting to enjoy the beauty of Colorado, there is no better way to do so than with a program that provides equipment, an experienced guide for tips and pointers and a new trail every other week.

When: 5-8 p.m. the first and third Thursday of each month
Cost: $20/person, $25 with bike rental
Location: Various biking trails of Colorado Springs

For more information or to sign up, call Outdoor Recreation at 556-4867, send an email to peterson.outdoor.rec@us.af.mil or go to www.21fss.com.

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