Cycling in Colorado


Cyclists are so omnipresent in Colorado they could almost have Lycra as a national costume. From impressive road cyclists who take on the mountain passes and long distance trails, to city bike schemes, there is something for everything. If you want to take on some serious long distance road cycling in Colorado, one of the best ports of call is a local cycling club, and there seems to be one in every town. Such as Estes Park Cycling Coalition, Durango Wheel Club, Aspen Cycling Club and Colorado Springs Cycling Club to name but a few. If you are more of the mountain type, then you really should fit one cycle into your schedule as Colorado is crammed with protected landscapes all waiting to please with superb tracks and trails networks. There are also some good companies that support self-guided cyclists in Colorado, helping you create itineraries, transport your bags and of course rent you a bike such as Hermosa in Durango. Mountain bikers who want the really wild experience should check out Colorado Backcountry Biker, which offers self-guided trips into the mountains and valleys around Fruita, just outside Grand Junction, staying in mountain huts along the way. And Lizard Head Cycling Guides are also a top operator for supported cycling tours from four to fourteen throughout the state.
Nearly all towns have bike hire outlets too. Such as the city bike scheme in Denver, called the B Cycle, aimed at short cycles of thirty minutes maximum, after which you dock it in one of the cityís 83 stations, go about your business, and then pick up another one again. All for $8 a day. Or Fort Collins which has been designated Platinum Level Bicycle Friendly City by the League of American Bicyclists, where you can hire a bike and head out along a series of trails such as along the restored Poudre River front. The important thing about biking in Fort Collins is that it nearly always ends up with a beer, with breweries ten a penny here. Check out the brewery guide, the innovative Bike Library and plan your cycle trail accordingly. Just leave it for the end of the trail, for responsible cycling and all that.

Cycling and supping seems to be a theme in Colorado, with the Palisade Fruit and Wine Cycle Trail also a wonderful thing to take on. Located in the Grand Valley with the dramatic, red dusty backdrop of Mount Garfield, part of the Book Cliff mountain range, as well as the vast tableland known as the Grand Mesa. You will want a pannier for this one as you are going to want to buy a few bottles along the way. Rapid Creek Cycles is a very helpful bike hire outlet, which also has super speedy electric bikes if you want to ease your way to the wineries. Or hire a mountain bike if you want to take on the tougher Rim Trail which is directly accessible from the shop. Originally used by miners and ranchers, it has been restored to offer all the singletracks, switchbacks and stunning views that you could want.

Aspen and Snowmassís hills are alive with the sound of mountain bikes once the snows melt. Rent a bike from or take a guided tour with Blazing Adventures, for example, and hit the Rio Grande Trail which goes all the way to Glenwood. They also offer a half day tour to the famously beautiful Maroon Bells Mountains and Lake which they stress is a downhill cycle, as they drive you up the hard bit. In Glenwood Springs rent a bike from Canyon Bikes who also offer a shuttle into Glenwood Canyon, allowing you to just think about taking a very cool, Colorado style cycle back along a 20 kms stretch of the Colorado River. You can even take a trip to the hot springs at the end of the day to ease off the muscles. Both of these are on converted railways, and the Rails to Trails Conservancy which restores a lot of these throughout the US is a great resource. Just put Colorado into their search box.

Another phenomenon popular in Colorado is the fat bike, a bike that has a frame built wide enough to use a very wide tyre, capable of getting through snow. Although originally used in winter conditions, they are often now hired year round as they can cope with severe back country conditions. Check out The Hub Bicycle Shop in Colorado Springs (which also runs weekly cycles) or Paragon Outdoors in Telluride, where you can take the free cable car up into the mountains and choose one of several trails to come back down, if you donít fancy tackling the ups.

ē Read more about Colorado activities: winter sports & skiing, hiking & walking, horse riding and water based activities
Responsible Travel would like to thank the Colorado tourist board for their sponsorship of this guide

Photo credits: [Top box - Biking near Grand Junction: Matt Inden/ Miles: Colorado] [Cycling in Palisade: Denise Chambers/Miles] [Summertime ski slopes: Matt Inden/ Miles: Colorado] [Cycling near Fruita: Matt Inden/ Miles: Colorado]
Written by Catherine Mack
Colorado holiday, self drive tour, USA

Colorado holiday, self drive tour, USA

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