Summer Cycles

One of the world's top cyclists shares his favorite Denver rides.

June 2002

Jonathan Vaughters has been instrumental in shaping the career of cycling prodigy Taylor Phinney. Read about Phinney's impressive career in "Project Taylor".

I've lived in the Denver area for all of my 28 years. I was born at Denver Mercy, grew up in the southeast suburbs, went to school at Auraria, and spent a fair bit of time trying to be Bohemian in LoDo long before it was called LoDo. I love our city.

There is, however, one small problem. I'm a professional cyclist, and to ply my trade I need to ride endless miles on low-traffic, country roads. Most of my European teammates live in cottages on top of hills 20 minutes from nowhere. They love it, but that isn't the lifestyle for me. I'm addicted to being able to walk to an antique store, go see an art flick, and eat a deli sandwich all within 10 minutes of my Congress Park home.

So, I've found a way to balance living downtown with training for the Tour de France. My training averages 400 to 500 miles per week, including a good deal of riding in the mountains. To keep my workouts intense, I must avoid the stop-and-go riding caused by city traffic (not to mention avoid getting hit by a bus). With this in mind, I've found many beautiful, low-traffic, interesting, and fun rides, all that start from central Denver.

So, if you promise not to clog up my secret routes - or run over too many inline skaters - I'll share three of my favorites with you. They all start a block from Washington Park, at the corner of Alameda Avenue and Downing Street, and end nearby at the Handle Bar & Grill (305 S. Downing St., 303-778-6761), which is bike racer central in Denver.