What To Know Before Pedaling Through Denver

June 11 2014, 2:00 PM

It seems there’s no stopping Denver’s evolution into a strong bicycle community and bike-friendly city. With benefits like less-congested roads, cleaner air, and more exercise, we’re not complaining. This summer is the perfect time to commit to pedaling, but here are some things to know first.

Where to Ride

Even with more convenient options, understanding the bike routes and how to navigate traffic is vital. For those looking for the perfect road routes around Colorado, check out last year’s feature from our May issue with detailed maps. Around Denver, the Cherry Creek Bike Path remains the most popular option, but the Clear Creek Bike Path offers a longer ride and is usually less congested.

Considerations When Riding

Scott T. of Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop offers several tips for city cycling:

1. Bring a smart phone or map when navigating a bike trail because the trails are not clearly marked around the metro area and it’s easy to get turned around.

2. Essentially, a bike gets the same treatment as a car in Denver. Know the rules: Bikers must have a light at night, make a full stop at stop signs and stoplights, and sidewalks are not a legal place to ride. 

3. When out for a ride, always bring along $20 in cash. You never know what could happen, and twenty bucks can save you from being stuck roadside for hours.  

4. There’s safety in numbers when riding a bike in the city as cars tend to be more considerate of multiple riders. This is one of the appealing parts of Bike to Work Day, Wednesday, June 25. All you have to do to participate is—you guessed it—ride a bike to work. Find groups to cycle with and Bike to Work breakfast locations here.

5. Don't mistake a bike as a way around drinking and driving. The legal limit for alcohol is the same whether you're behind a steering wheel or handlebars.

Make Riding a Convenience

Riding your bike is a perfect way to save time and money when heading to a crowded area, such as a festival or a movie .

Scott T. suggests that riding your bicycle around a neighborhood when looking for a house will give you a better idea of the space you’re living in. Whether it’s the noise, the sounds or the atmosphere, it adds a level to knowing the neighborhood.

Biking to the grocery store is also a great way to control what you buy. Use a reusable bag or a bike basket to shop and carry around the store with you. That way you’ll understand how much weight you’ll be hauling back with you.