How do I get there by bike?
I’ve been planning a number of summer trips recently, some that I plan to travel by bike and some by car, and it has made me realize just how different it is planning a trip by bike than by car.
The stark difference
When I plan to drive somewhere, I might look up directions the day before. Maybe. More often, I’ll plug the address into my phone right before I get in the car and have Google Maps talk me through the directions.
But when I plan to bike to another city or destination in the mountains that I haven’t been to, it’s a whole different story. It is possible to get to most places in Colorado by bike, but many times “just Googling it” doesn’t work.
Planning usually involves some combination of Google Maps, printed bike maps, CDOT’s online Bicycle and Byways map, Strava, and—most importantly—talking to people who have biked the route before. The process serves as a great reminder of how important it is that we all keep pushing for roads and trails that accommodate people on bicycles.
A “secret” route
One of the routes I’ve been looking up recently is how to get from the Denver metro area up to Loveland Pass. I know I’m not the only one who is interested in this, so I thought I’d share my research.
An overview of the route:
- Denver to Golden: Clear Creek Trail
- Golden to Genesee Park: Lookout Mountain Road
- Genesee Park to the I-70 El Rancho exit: Interstate 70 Bike Path *updated 9/28/16*
- I-70 El Rancho exit to Kermitts Corner (I-70 exit 244): US-40 *updated 9/28/16*
- Kermitts Corner to the east side of Idaho Springs: Scott Lancaster Memorial Trail
- Through Idaho Springs: Colorado Boulevard
- Idaho Springs to Georgetown: Frontage roads
- Georgetown to Silver Plume: Silver Plume to Georgetown Express Trail
- Silver Plume to Bakerville: Frontage roads
- Bakerville to Loveland Pass Road: Bakerville to Loveland Trail
There are several tricky spots on this route. Getting from frontage roads to the Silver Plume to Georgetown Express Trail, for instance, involves biking through a parking lot. Bicycle Colorado is working for consistent signage for bicycle routes across the state, but we’re not there yet.
Better options are planned to allow people to travel up to Loveland Pass by bike. A planned Peaks to Plains Trail would allow cyclists to travel this route exclusively on trail. Many of the sections of this Peaks to Plains Trail already exist, but there are missing links, including a 19-mile stretch through the Clear Creek Canyon. A six-mile portion in the middle of the canyon is under construction right now and is scheduled to open sometime this summer.