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  1. #1
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    Touring the Front Range

    I live in Fort Collins and want to ride south- possibly even down through New Mexico. I am not sure what gear is essential to have, what routes are best, and it if is dangerous to tour alone as a 20yr old female.
    Suggestions?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turtlepie
    I live in Fort Collins and want to ride south- possibly even down through New Mexico. I am not sure what gear is essential to have, what routes are best, and it if is dangerous to tour alone as a 20yr old female.
    Suggestions?
    Thanks!
    The routes depend on whether you want the straightest possible shot or the scenic route and where you want to end up in New Mexico. The straightest route is the easiest...both figuratively and literally. Just follow I-25 from Ft Collins to Raton, NM. You can ride some sections of I-25 but in other's you'll have to ride the frontage roads. Pretty simple and damned boring Ft. Collins to Denver would be pretty easy with lots of places to stop and get food and water and places to stay. Getting through Denver can be a little tricky but certainly not impossible. You wouldn't follow I-25 but I'd suggest taking the Platte River trail from 104 and McKay down to Chatfield Res.

    From Denver to Colo. Springs wouldn't be bad either. Again lots of places to stop and get food, water and shelter. I'd ride US85 (not the most pleasant of rides but doable) to Sedalia, then go over to CO105 through Perry Park all the way to Palmer Lake. From Palmer Lake, I'd take the Santa Fe Trail (hard packed dirt mostly) through the Air Academy to the Pikes Peak Greenway. To get through the Springs, I'd take the Pikes Peak Greenway through town to Fountain.

    Now comes the more difficult part. From the Springs to the state line, there ain't a lot of stuff out there. Springs to Pueblo is 40 miles with one stop to get food and water (maybe 2). South of Pueblo you are getting into some rather unpopulated areas. There are a couple of towns and some gas stations but they get further apart as you go further south. From the Rye area to Trinidad, there's only Walsenburg. And it's flat and rather boring.

    For the scenic route, I'd probably go up towards Estes Park and follow CO119 to Idaho Springs, then come back to Evergreen and eventually to US285 through Bailey. Go across South Park to Buena Vista and keep going south to Antonito, passing through Poncha Springs, Villa Grove, Mosca (CO17), Alamosa, etc.
    Out of Antonito you can go to Toas or Santa Fe.

    The scenic route is going to be tough! Lots of climbing. But it's pretty. The straight route is easy, still kinda pretty in a more subtle way and kinda boring.

    As for stuff you'll need. A touring bike. Stuff to sleep in and on. Stuff to cook with. Clothes. Water. Food. Something to read. Etc.

    Go lurk at the touring forum. Ask questions.

    Your final question: Can't tell you one way or another. Solo touring is tough physically. Solo touring is probably tougher mentally. It's as safe as any other activity.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  3. #3
    Senior Member velo2000's Avatar
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    Your question about riding as a single female reminded me of a journal I had seen on crazyguyonabike.com: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=1291&v=zh. She is a younger woman and rode across the country on her own.

    Definitely browse through the touring forum. It has a ton of good info. Just remember that what works for someone else might not necessarily work for you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member SirScott's Avatar
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    "When I was your age..." a whopping 5 years ago, I did something similar. I was living in upstate NY, had a few days with nothing to do and had just finished reading a compilation of short stories called Bicycle Love. It inspired me to hop on my mountain bike and ride to PA and back. After I decided to do it, I spent the next day accumulating supplies (i.e. backpack, snickers bars, cans of tuna, and a can opener) and then left the following day. Took three days total and I just stayed at cheap motels.

    In retrospect, the minimal planning, the funky diet, and the audacity of riding 300 miles on a MTB when my longest ride had been 20 miles are exactly the components that made the trip memorable.

    So, my advice: Make it up as you go along. Don't over think it. But just as velo2000 says, what works for someone else might not necessarily work for you!

    Good luck!
    FTW Racing Crew

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    Hi Turtlepie

    I just moved to Boulder, and this is my first post in the regional discussions, but I've been posting in Touring for a while.

    I'm 41 (no wait really? how did that happen???), female, and started touring a few years ago. I did my first tour with a friend but have done the rest solo, and I love it.

    DO IT!!! Touring ROCKS!

    Don't try to go the fastest, straightest, most direct-by-car route. Look for awesome cycling. I toured colorado a couple years ago, and used a book "Cycling Colorado's Mountain Passes" as a great information source.


    Resources
    www.adventurecycling.org
    www.crazyguyonabike.com
    http://www.dot.state.co.us/bikeped/maps.htm
    Cycling Colorado's Mountain Passes (http://www.rei.com/product/688722?vcat=REI_SEARCH)
    ...

  6. #6
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    Oops, hit submit too soon...

    It's totally do-able, but you should do a bit of research first. crazyguyonabike has people's touring journals, which often include gear lists, which are helpful. Try to just bring what you need, not what you think you might need and want (like, you don't need your laptop, duh). Less weight is better.

    Have a few minor mechanical skills, but don't sweat it, you'll be in civilization most of the time.

    Don't be scared of people, they are mostly super nice and helpful, but don't put yourself in situations that seem sketchy. Keep your radar on, but be open to experiences.

    If you want to pick my brain, PM me.

    Have a fantastic tour!!

    Anna
    ...

  7. #7
    Senior Member oilfreeandhappy's Avatar
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    I road from Fort Collins, as far as Colorado Springs last summer. I went the Eastern Route -
    Day1: FtC to Windsor to Milliken, over to Hwy 85 (Loud, but very wide shoulder with rumble strips), to Brighton. At 104th Street in North Denver, head west a few miles, and pick up the Platte River Bike Trail. Take this to Downtown Denver, and pick up the Cherry Creek Bike Trail to Cherry Creek State Park - I camped here.

    Day2: Left the park, heading South on the Bike Trail. Got lost, but finally ended up in Franktown. Took 83 South from here all the way to Colorado Springs. Exercise caution on this stretch, as there is no water from Franktown to Colorado Springs. Also, there isn't much of a shoulder, and, for Colorado, I didn't very bike-friendly.

    I highly recommend the Co. Dept of Transportation maps. They have codes indicating the type of cycling facility on all the roads. At some point (ie Raton pass), you will have no choice but to ride the Interstate. I've seen cyclists riding there though. Unless you want to get into the Mountains, and ride Hwy 285 to the west - again, see the CODOT maps.

    Good luck!
    Jim
    Jim
    Make a BOLD Statement While Cycling!

  8. #8
    Senior Member oilfreeandhappy's Avatar
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    I didn't respond to your last question. I'd suggest going with a friend, but it would probably be safe either way (at least to the Springs). The route I mentioned to the Springs has plenty of traffic, so there probably wouldn't be any danger of hassle or molestation. However, be very cautious on the stretch from Hwy 83 between Franktown and Colorado Springs. The trucks that travel that route, don't seem concerned about coming close to cyclists. Use a mirror, and I'd suggest pulling off the road, if there are trucks (SUVs, or other wide vehicles) coming from both directions.
    Jim
    Make a BOLD Statement While Cycling!

  9. #9
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl
    Hi Turtlepie

    I just moved to Boulder, and this is my first post in the regional discussions, but I've been posting in Touring for a while.

    I'm 41 (no wait really? how did that happen???), female, and started touring a few years ago. I did my first tour with a friend but have done the rest solo, and I love it.

    DO IT!!! Touring ROCKS!

    Don't try to go the fastest, straightest, most direct-by-car route. Look for awesome cycling. I toured colorado a couple years ago, and used a book "Cycling Colorado's Mountain Passes" as a great information source.


    Resources
    www.adventurecycling.org
    www.crazyguyonabike.com
    http://www.dot.state.co.us/bikeped/maps.htm
    Cycling Colorado's Mountain Passes (http://www.rei.com/product/688722?vcat=REI_SEARCH)
    Howdy, Valygrl! You're going to have to change your name! Or at least your location

    While I did poopoo the Front Range route and consider it a bit boring, it does have it's own charm. The canyon country south of Pueblo is starkly beautiful and the area south of that toward Walsenberg is
    about as close to buffalo/native American country as you can find. It would even be bad bicycle country if you stayed up next to the mountains at Rye or went over Hard Scrabble Pass and took the Green Horn Highway (CO165). The Southern Front Range is under appreciated...even by people who've been here their whole lives
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=cyccommute]Howdy, Valygrl! You're going to have to change your name! Or at least your location

    QUOTE]

    oops, i'll get right on that. hi cycco, do you ever ride with the rmcc? i'm doing their saturday ride this weekend.
    ...

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl
    oops, i'll get right on that. hi cycco, do you ever ride with the rmcc? i'm doing their saturday ride this weekend.
    No. I have a history with the founders of that club that isn't the best. They kinda pirated another club I was involved with. We weren't on the best of terms.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  12. #12
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    We did a short tour from Pueblo to Boulder and back last spring, it was windy as hell, but still fun!
    Here is a link to the trip report with a few more details.
    http://www.alternativecommutepueblo....-and-back.html

  13. #13
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdkopp0153 View Post
    We did a short tour from Pueblo to Boulder and back last spring, it was windy as hell, but still fun!
    Here is a link to the trip report with a few more details.
    http://www.alternativecommutepueblo....-and-back.html
    OK - but the thread you are responding to is four and 1/2 years old - otherwise called a "zombie" thread. I would guess that the OP's tour has already been completed?

    But, an interesting web page, nevertheless!!

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