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Summer Guide: A Historical Tour of the Mile High Via Bicycle Colorado

Show out-of-town guests that Denver is about more than the Broncos and Mary Jane by following Bicycle Colorado’s bike-safe tour around town. 

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On the bridge at Larimer Street above Cherry Creek, Auraria City and Denver City residents became unified at a moonlight ceremony in 1860. And look! A B-cycle station. How convenient.

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1.2 miles Show off how cultural this one-time cow town has become by cruising past Mark di Suvero’s “Lao-Tzu” across from the Denver Art Museum. The 2010 National Medal of Arts winner fashioned the piece out of 16-plus tons of I-beams and sheet metal, then painted it carnival orange to stand out against the blue Colorado sky—that, or he’s a huge Broncos fan.

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1.5 miles After Henry Cordes Brown donated the parcel upon which the state Capitol is built to Denver for that purpose in 1868, the city’s wealthy erected massive mansions along nearby Grant Street, which came to be known as Millionaires Row. The odd architectural flourishes make for good gawking.

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2.9 miles During a loop through Cheesman Park, regale your visitors with tales of the space’s grisly past: Between 1858 and 1890, it housed numerous cemeteries. They were relocated, but odds and ends still turn up during excavation work.

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4.5 miles Unfurl a blanket and let loose the granola; it’s time to refuel at Benedict Fountain Park. The elaborate fountain (made of travertine marble) got spruced up during a recent renovation that also saw the installation of a playground. There’s still plenty of space, though, to enjoy the epic view of downtown.

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6.9 miles This jaunt through Five Points is a lesson in urban revival. Along Stout Street in Curtis Park reside quaint Victorian houses that Denver’s elite discarded for Capitol Hill in the late 19th century; they were later occupied by the city’s black community. Turning onto Larimer Street, dynamic graffiti art animates a formerly downtrodden stretch that artists are transforming into one of the most exciting blocks in Denver. And as you enter downtown, you find the distinctive bars and restaurants that make the city a millennial magnet.

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8.1 miles Coors Field turns 20 this year. Intrigue your entourage with a bit of trivia about its brief but already noteworthy history. For example: Coors Field’s 1999 season set the standard for offensive explosiveness, with teams clubbing a combined 303 homers there. Your guests aren’t sports fans? No worries. During construction of the stadium, crews found a dinosaur rib fragment, leading to the creation of Dinger, the Rockies’ triceratops mascot.

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10.3 miles You’ve earned a calorie splurge. Order the Bombshell Sammich and Tavern Tots at Highland Tavern, just like Guy Fieri did on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. (They’re tourists. They’ll love it.)

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11.5 miles As you pass through Confluence Park, gaze into the South Platte River and imagine the flecks of gold that first lured settlers to these banks. After this ride, your guests just might want to join them.


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