In the Saddle: Biking in Denver, longing for home
June 21, 2011
LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Metro Denver is a road biker’s paradise – sort of.
I hauled my bike down for a weekend of two-wheeled travel in substantially different scenery and that’s exactly what I got.
Day 2 of the biking itinerary, from the suburb of Lakewood into downtown Denver and back, was thwarted, however, by an unsightly bulge on my bike that, oddly, wasn’t me. On Day 1, a strange abrasion developed on my back tire, along with a bulbous disaster waiting to happen. Fortunately, it didn’t, and I’ll never know how close I came to a blow-out and a long wait for a companion to ride home, collect a vehicle and fetch me.
Instead, we set out from Lakewood, climbing toward the aptly named Green Mountain and then dropping down into Bear Creek Lake Park.
I have to say, suburban Denver has done much to accommodate bicyclists, boasting plenty of wide bike paths and dedicated bike lanes on the edges of many busy thoroughfares. A glance at a biking map of greater Denver is pretty impressive, with its color-coded bike routes nearly as numerous as the streets themselves.
As a result, we climbed Alameda without actually riding in traffic, then descended toward the park. Crossing Morrison Road, with vehicles moving at high speeds and no signalized intersection to help, was tricky, though.
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In the park, the chirps of birds and crickets, and grassy, open vistas were a vast departure from the rest of our urban loop. A paved path winds through the park, climbing up and over the dam that forms the lake/reservoir, not once, but twice.
We popped back out on Morrison Road (where a bike path leads to the town of Morrison) and connected with a new, paved path that rings the west side of Green Mountain. The concrete path was in perfect shape (the climbing reminded us that we weren’t), but the interstate traffic on adjacent C470 really detracted from the experience. The path eventually turned east, bordering equally busy Highway 6, then dumped us onto a truly rough stretch of frontage road that may be to blame for my near brush with tire trouble.
I have to say, the outing made me long for the blessedly rural feel of the Rio Grande Trail and other local rides. It was a good reminder that there’s no place like home.