Cycling opportunities in Colorado

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of August 21-27, 1997
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Cycling opportunities in Colorado
Question: I'm a cyclist who's always looking for a longer, steeper hill to climb. I plan to move to Colorado sometime this year and was hoping you might be able to give me some info. Thanks.

Chris Gagne
Hudson, NH
[email protected]

Boulder, Colorado, is one of the most bicycle-friendly American towns
Adventure Adviser: Colorado is one of the most cycling-friendly states in the Union with "Share the Road" highway signs, 300 miles of recently widened two-lane roads, and legal riding on interstate highways.

In 1988, the state legislature even passed a law giving cyclists the same rights as motorists. The capital city in this biking mecca is none other than Boulder. Once referred to as the "Vatican of cycling," this is the town Schwinn calls home and where people who ride their bikes to work can get an emergency lift from the city anytime they need. Not to mention at 5,344 feet, it's the perfect training elevation. Many a world-class athlete calls Boulder home.

The only problem with Boulder is that, like any city that gets a lot of attention, it's getting too crowded. Where group training rides used to be the norm, cyclists are getting slapped with fines and citations for riding more than two abreast. Also, job competition in the ultra-trendy town is quite tight unless you are an eternal grad student at the University of Colorado. And even with its green-space ordinances, the lines between Boulder and Denver are slowly blurring.

Farther south, and yet another booming bedroom community of Denver, is Colorado Springs. With the U.S. Olympic Training Center headquartered there, it's not uncommon to pass a celebrity cyclist out training on the flatlands east of town or heading west up the impossibly steep climbs toward Pikes Peak. With a few colleges, military bases, and the U.S. Air Force Academy right outside of town, there are plenty of young riders milling about.

If you're willing to forgo cycling for its knobbier cousin, head to Durango, home of the first mountain-biking world champions. The funky town of 15,000 lives and breathes mountain biking, with three sides framed in by national forest, reservation, or BLM land. Plus, its mining and logging history offers some awesome knobby-tire backwoods roads leading to amazing vistas of the San Juan Mountain Range. With six bike shops, and a religious zeal for the brutal Sunday-morning ride where the likes of John Tomac show up, you won't be hurting for fellow spokeheads.

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