The Roanoker - May/June 2020 - 33

RIVERS AND ROADS PHOTOGRAPHY

driven by the Blue Ridge Parkway, an abundance
of local trail rides and the sheer beauty of
Southwest Virginia. In the last few years, several
new bike stores have opened up catering to the
growing number of people wanting to get out
and ride.
Ambruzs came to Virginia from Alaska
and opened Downshift in 2017 after selecting
Roanoke as a promising location.
" We interviewed many cities before we
decided to open here, " he says. " Roanoke offered
the best mix of cost of living, quality of life, and
environment. "
He commends the local governments for
encouraging bicycling by including bike lanes
on their roads, developing and expanding the
Roanoke Valley Greenway program, as well as
supporting and sponsoring local biking events
like the Annual Blue Ridge Go-Cross cyclecross
racing event held on Labor Day weekend.
The Go-Cross has attracted national and
international bikers to Roanoke and the
surrounding region. Last year's event drew
thousands of spectators and over a thousand
participants including riders from 29 states,
Australia, Canada, Denmark, France and the
United Kingdom.
Go-Cross also had an economic impact of
$388,149 in indirect and induced spending on
the region, an increase of 90% from the previous
year's event, says Pete Eshelman, with the
Roanoke Outside Foundation, which organizes
the Go-Cross.
" We're meeting our goal of becoming a
destination event, " Eshelman states. " It also
reinforces awareness of the Roanoke Region's
outdoor assets especially in the international
cycling community. "

TheRoanoker.com

" What we offer to new cyclists
and people who have been biking
for a long time is a place to meet
up, get acquainted and get advice
and support. We wanted to create a really low-pressure environment. We're not trying to
sell them a bike, we're trying to
build community. " 	 		
-steve amb ru zs, d ownsh ift

MAY/JUNE 2020

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The Roanoker - May/June 2020

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