In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the late Robin Williams once described biking as the closest thing we humans have to flying. The wind blowing against your face is like a window rolled down in your car all the time. You can smell trees in the park. For those wanting some exercise, bicycling is perfect for any kind of bike rider, from the casual rider to the Tour de France racing type.
In the last few years, Denver has helped bikers feel safer on the streets. Downtown Denver has bike lanes on every street, and there are great places to ride throughout Denver. Instead of paying for a gym membership to get in shape, you can ride your bike to work.
Knowing that most people are biking everywhere, it’s tough to get started. What should you wear? Besides work, where should you ride your bike? Which bike do you get?
Don’t worry — the following introduction to bicycling in Denver will help get you on your way…
What to Buy
- Helmet — Buy a helmet and wear it as much as you can. Having helmet hair is now sexy. You will be fine.
- Bike wear — You can wear the cycling outfit, but that’s up to you. Serious riders wear these if they want to feel comfortable sitting on their bike seat for more than an hour. If you’re riding to work, you can easily ride in slacks or business casual clothes. Just roll up your pant legs on your right side so the gear grease doesn’t ruin your work clothes.
- Every other accessory is optional.
Once you’ve picked out your accessories, you also need to figure out which bike you should buy — or rent:
Which Bike to Buy
- Mountain bike — reliable transportation in-town, but also great for trails in the mountains.
- Cruiser bikes — for those not worried about speed.
- Road bikes — for those who want to ride as fast as those Jimmy John’s bike riders delivering their sandwiches.
- Single-speed or fixie-speed bikes — for those who want low maintenance on their bike, but still look good.
- B-Cycle ride-sharing — if you don’t want responsibility for your own bike.
Where to Go
Your bike rides will depend on how far you want to ride. Find your traveling radius, then if you need to go to other places, use public transportation. The A line (the Lightrail that goes to the airport) is perfect for bikes, as they have two places for you to hang your bike on while you ride. All buses have bike racks on their front bumper.
If you’re still worried about where to go, below are some places to ride your bike:
Essential Places to Ride your Bike
- City of Kunming Park — Go here during a gorgeous sunset.
- Inspiration Point — As the name implies, you’ll be inspired. On your way to Inspiration Point, you’ll also ride by Rocky Mountain Lake Park.
- Cherry Creek Bike Path — At one end of the path, there is Confluence Park, where gold was first found in 1858. At the other end is the Cherry Creek Reservoir, a great place to take a swim during the summer. In-between these two places, the Cherry Creek Bike Path has many places for you to stop and relax along the creek.
- Trail to Golden — If you’re ready for a 2-hour ride, you can go all the way to Golden on a couple trails.
- Brewery tour — Perfect for downtown drinkers, you can take a tour of local breweries on your bike. (But don’t drink and ride.)
- City Park — A beautiful place to ride your bike. If you’ve seen those postcards with the picture of downtown Denver, the lake in the foreground, and the mountains in the background, take your bike to the west side of the Museum of Natural History and Science.
- Ruby Hill Park — Take the South Platte trail, head south, and you’ll come to Sanderson Gulch Trail, which runs along Florida Avenue. It’s a steep hill, but the view is worth the trip up to the top of Ruby Hill.
- Belmar — If you’re looking to get out of Denver, you can use bike trails all the way to the Belmar shopping district.
- Stapleton — There’s a park, along with shops, in the Stapleton shopping district. You can also cross I-70 to get to The Shops at Northfield Stapleton, where there are many restaurants and a movie theater there.
- Sloan’s Lake — By far the best place to go within five miles of downtown Denver. You’ll go up a hill on 23rd street, but once you hit Federal Blvd., the road is flat to Sloan’s Lake. You can ride around the 2.5-mile loop to find the perfect place to have a picnic or read.
- Washington Park — The east side of the park is beautiful, as you can see the mountains in the reflection of the lakes.
Best Ways to Ride
- Wear bright-colored clothing.
- Turn on your lights at night.
- Use side streets — Look at Google Maps for your best bet on where to go. You’ll stop more often on side streets, but you’ll also deal with fewer cars on the street, and the cars you do meet are going slower than if you meet cars on a busy streets.
- Take your time — Leave earlier than you normally would. Google Maps expects you to go about 7 mph when you enter your destination into the app.
- Take breaks — Unless you’re training for the Tour de France, take breaks along the trail. There are many parks for you to stop and enjoy Denver’s nature.
- If you’re looking to go faster than 15 mph, you can take busy streets and go as fast as those cars going 30 mph. Make sure you take up the full lane so other cars can visually see you.
- If you’re riding fast, don’t be unpredictable. You know those motorcyclists who ride their bikes in-between the cars? Don’t do that. Your bike is much lighter than theirs. Even though you can maneuver quickly, make sure your actions are predictable, like a car in traffic.
If you would like more information about bicycling in Denver, contact me. And of course, if you or someone you know is ever in the market to buy or sell real estate, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I’d be happy to discuss the Denver area with you.