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Old 04-26-11, 01:51 PM   #1
bikerjp
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Suggestions / Concerns on biking to Estes Park?

Well, my carter lake ride didn't happen due to weather and being a wuss. Maybe this weekend. However, I noticed that my route will take me the same direction as a possible trip to Estes so I now have two rides to choose from.

I mapped it at just over 40 miles one way (http://ridewithgps.com/routes/381621). There is a section that has to be on 34 and it's largely prior to the canon so cars will tend to drive faster there. I guess there is a shoulder, but I don't know what sort of condition it's in (lots of rocks, glass, cracks, etc.) or how safe it is in general for cycling.

Has anyone ridden up there lately and have any info on conditions or suggestions? How bad is weekend traffic this time of year? I figure I'll probably stop for lunch somewhere in Estes before coasting home. I suppose it's best to bring a lock but that's no fun to carry. Are there any bike friendly restaurants where it's easy to safely store a bike while eating, using the restroom, etc. or just plan to haul a lock?

Thanks.
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Old 04-26-11, 08:28 PM   #2
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OK, no one else is biting, so I'll comment, at the risk of seeming like a know-it-all. ;->

That's a good route. The section at your mile 16 where you turn right at the end of Loveland Water Storage Reservoir onto CO Rd 2211 (I'm reading the map here) may not actually be a road, or at least not a paved road. But it doesn't matter, just bear left and continue up to Hwy 34.

Turning off at Drake and going up Devils Gulch Rd (43) to Glen Haven is perfect, that is a gorgeous, quiet road. The little town of Glen Haven is famous among the local cyclists for the cinnamon rolls the size of your head. Not my cup of tea, but it's kind of a tradition. Don't finish a whole one, though, because right away there's a steep bit after Glen Haven. Don't despair, it's short, then you descend into Estes Park (which of course means you climb back out on the way back). That cutoff is definitely nicer than staying on 34.

34 is OK to ride, it should be fine until Memorial Day, then it gets busy. There's just (barely) enough shoulder. I don't like riding it very much, but it's worth it to get to Devil's Gulch Rd. and Estes Park.

I would pick a good weather day for that ride, though - it's a pretty sizable climb, and it sucks descending in the rain (been there, done that, very cold). Carter Lake is much less climbing and at much lower elevation, so it's a better choice for an iffy weather day.

I never bring a lock, but it's your call. There's plenty of places to choose from with patios, so you can minimize your time away from your bike if you like.

Later in the year, go up into the park and ride up Trail Ridge Road, it's awesome!!!
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Old 04-26-11, 10:22 PM   #3
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Thanks again Valygrl. You seem to have good info so keep it coming. Yeah, I wasn't sure about the small road by the res but it cut off some riding on 34. Guess I'll find out when I get there.

Hope to do one of these two this weekend depending on weather. Obviously, my post on hauling clothes was aimed at this ride this time of year.

Trail Ridge would be great but having driven it numerous times and seeing all the "crazy" cyclists and idiot drivers I'm not sure. I guess they mostly go slow but I hate biking with all the traffic noise and distraction. Would be nice if they would close the road once or twice a year to motor traffic. Maybe a midweek ride wouldn't be too bad.
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Old 04-27-11, 01:53 PM   #4
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The way to ride Trail Ridge is early. Start at dawn and most of those drivers are still dreaming of their morning bacon before they try to haul their campers over the road.
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Old 04-30-11, 01:01 PM   #5
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Does anyone know if they allow riding up Old Fall River RD? I know it is one way and only open in the summer and of course it isn't paved. I believe at the end it reaches close to 11,500 feet so that would be a pretty serious climb. Sadly I tore a ligament in my leg a few weeks ago and probably won't be able to give it a try for a long time. I did ride up a good amount of Pike's Peak on a fixie last spring.

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Old 04-30-11, 02:25 PM   #6
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Does anyone know if they allow riding up Old Fall River RD? I know it is one way and only open in the summer and of course it isn't paved. I believe at the end it reaches close to 11,500 feet so that would be a pretty serious climb. Sadly I tore a ligament in my leg a few weeks ago and probably won't be able to give it a try for a long time. I did ride up a good amount of Pike's Peak on a fixie last spring.
Yes. I'm planning on doing it on my tour bike this year, but I met someone at the Alpine Center who had ridden up on a regular road bike. I'd try to do it on a weekday if possible, it's pretty narrow, and while the cars are moving slowly, it would probably be nicer with fewer cars.
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Old 04-30-11, 11:34 PM   #7
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Yes. I'm planning on doing it on my tour bike this year, but I met someone at the Alpine Center who had ridden up on a regular road bike. I'd try to do it on a weekday if possible, it's pretty narrow, and while the cars are moving slowly, it would probably be nicer with fewer cars.
I'd like to try it on my Single Speed - would you ride there from Boulder and then home? I looked up the elevation is 11,798 feet
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Old 05-01-11, 07:24 AM   #8
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I'd like to try it on my Single Speed - would you ride there from Boulder and then home? I looked up the elevation is 11,798 feet
No, that's too far for me for a day ride - about 160 miles (edit, round trip). Guess I could do it in 3 days as a mini-tour, which is kind of an interesting idea.
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Old 05-09-11, 08:08 PM   #9
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I love fall river road on the MTB, and trail ridge on the roadie. This last weekend was the first weekend at this altitude that the weather was decent for riding. I love riding fall river road, but normally i do it on a mtb. The ride from lyons up hy 7, then north on 7 to estes is a bit of a better route then 34 any time of the year IMO. But.. i live on hy 7 so im a bit biased.

Riding trail ridge from boulder would be epic, but a hell of a long day! i start at my house in allenspark and it a good days ride from here.

Bah, its snowing right now.

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