This is one of my favorite west side rides. The multiple hills keep it interesting. The traffic is generally light and friendly, and the sights and sounds entertaining. Multiple laps of the core rectangle are possible and you can stretch the ride out with excursions out to Garrison St in Lakewood. Stops signs, none of which come at really bad times in the climbs/descents, are the only real buzz killer, but weekend traffic is light enough that foot-on-the-ground stops are rarely necessary. The core of this route runs from the Denver Aquarium to the north and Bow Mar Lake in the south. In between, and along the way, are a multitude of hills. None are very long, a few are quite steep, and the route makes a fine training ride and offers a mid-winter alternative to Lookout Mountain and the standard foothill rides. From both east and west there are two easy approaches, along Dartmouth or 23rd Ave. Many variations and extensions are possible, but I like to start in the north, work south along Irving then jog east to pick up Zuni St at Kentucky Ave. There are significant hills southbound between 13th and 6th Ave, as well as multiple hills along Zuni south of Huston Lake Park to Dartmouth. Don’t miss the short but very steep sections on Bryant St and a few miles later on Berry Ave, both of which jump up into the low to mid teens in slope. Sneak through a bikes/peds opening in the chain link fence at Lowell Blvd and Quincy. A short rolling stretch through the quiet Bow Mar neighborhood allows you to return along Berry and Lowell or exit north to Sheridan and Quincy Ave. Heading north, you’ll encounter another good climb from Hampden to Amherst Ave, along Lowell, Knox Ct, and Julian Way, all of which resolve into Irving St again. Finish the core climbs with short sprints between 2nd Ave and 6th Ave, and then again between 12th and 14th Ave.
Cautions: Between Julian St and Knox Ct, you’ll be on Colfax Ave in the turning lane for 1/2 block. It is a school zone, but it is still Colfax Ave. If you approach from the southeast along Dartmouth, avoid the intersection at Santa Fe Dr by using the bike trail to the south between Inca St and Platte River Dr. The intersection at Lowell Blvd and Hampden Ave can be difficult if no other cars are around to trigger a signals sequence friendly to cyclists. Use the pedestrian button if you need to.
Welcome to ColoradoBikeMaps, the blog to discover all the places and ways you can ride a bike in Colorado. The blog focuses on route maps along the front range, but include maps from all over Colorado as time and inclination dictate. The blog is an outgrowth of my book, Great Road Rides Denver, published in 2010 by Fulcrum Books and still available in the Denver metro area, including The Bicycle Doctor, Tattered Cover, and Amazon. Variants of some of the 25 routes found in GRRD appear in the blog, but without the detailed route information that only a guide book can provide. While GRRD focuses on rides within and around metro Denver, ColoradoBikeMaps includes many of the rides in the foothills between Deer Creek Canyon and Golden Gate Canyon, just north of Denver. I’ve also added race maps that I’ve made for the USA Cycling chapter here in Colorado (Coloradocycling.org) as well as from other cartographers and promoters. There are also links and maps to many of the organized charity rides that you can find from June to September in Colorado. Even when the ride is no longer promoted, I’ve kept the maps. They are still interesting routes to ride. There are also a couple of routes from John Hodge in Grand Junction, a similar, cycling obsessed, cartographer.
Most of the work of the past few years has been on a major map of the cycling trails along the metro front range, one that shows all the region’s major trail systems and how to link them up. You can see a preview of the main map below and can buy your own copy at Tattered Cover Bookstore (all three stores), Turin Bicycles and Bicycle Doctor + Evo (both Denver), and Golden Bike Shop and Big Ring Cyclery (both Golden). An app from Avenza Maps incorporates the entire 36″ x 24″ map and allows easy navigation while on your bicycle.
Disclaimer: Cycling can be dangerous if you crash. It can also be dangerous if you are hit by another cyclist, a car, a train, or a meteor. In all cases, I disclaim responsibility for all bad things that happen to you when you are out on your bicycle (but do not wish them on you). I’ve made these maps from sources that are usually reliable, but GIS data, roads, trails, and routes all change. If you discover a mistake in a map, let me know, and I’ll correct it. Good decision making and sound judgment are the responsibility of the individual. We assume no liability from injury that may result from the use of these maps.