Summer Concerts by Bike
Who says you have to drive to Red Rocks?
By Jim Bowen, longtime Bicycle Colorado supporter
I dropped by the Bicycle Colorado office recently, and the group was interested in how I use my commuter bike to enjoy two or three summer concerts at Red Rocks each year, no driving required! I have an office in downtown Denver with two private practices, working as a certified massage therapist and a licensed professional counselor. I simply keep a commuter bike in the stairwell near my office and watch for shows I might be interested in.
Come summertime, and once I find a show I want to see, I start by grabbing a bite to eat after work. Then, I attach a stadium seat to my Camelbak with a bungee cord, stash some simple rain gear, check my front and rear lights, put on a helmet and ride to the W Line—the light rail train to Golden.
I relax all the way west to the “Taj Mahal” (aka the Jefferson County government buildings in Golden and the end of the line). From there, I head south on my bike from the train station on the bike path to Rooney Road. There’s good shoulder and not much traffic as I make my way to Alameda Parkway, where no cars are allowed on the portion over the hogback at Dinosaur Ridge (header image above).
I enjoy the dinosaur tracks as I ride up and over the hogback before dropping down to the Red Rocks entrance. It’s a decent climb to get to the amphitheater (the image below is one view from the top) so I pedal slowly uphill past all the people walking in, who often comment “Good idea!” It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to ride over from Golden, with some hills thrown in there, but who’s in a hurry?
I lock the bike up, scalp a ticket and head on in. Sure, I’m usually late, but I enjoy the ride over so much! I’ve scored inexpensive seats close in for Sting, David Grey and Bonnie Raitt these last few years. Should I be unable to get tickets, I still manage to enjoy the cool summer weather by riding around Red Rocks and stopping to listen to the music at various spots around the park.
I leave before the concert is over to miss the long line of cars leaving the park in the dark. A thousand-lumen helmet light on the front and rear red blinkers help me to be very visible and safely find my way. From Red Rocks, I reverse the commute back over the hogback to the train and head downtown. Again—no car needed!
Getting to a concert this way makes the experience that much more enjoyable. The quality of the ride to the venue is outstanding, making the concert an extra bonus. (You can always get your friends to save you a seat!) Driving there is fine, too, but you’ll feel extra alive if you ride there. In my experience, it enhances the concerts. Give it a try, sometime!
Footnote: I’ve been renewing my annual Bicycle Colorado membership at VeloSwap in Denver for many, many years. Keep up the good work, BC! I believe we need strong laws and transportation enhancements to encourage more people to ride mass transit and their bicycles as needed.